HB24-1286 - Equal Justice Fund Authority

HB24-1286 – Equal Justice Fund Authority
Effective Date: This bill was signed into law by the Governor and took effect on June 30, 2024

Bill Page / Signed Act / Last Fiscal Note

The bill creates the Equal Justice Authority (EJA), a special purpose authority. The EJA is governed by a seven-member appointed board and must meet at least four times per year. Board members serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for expenses as a result of their duties.

Beginning on January 1, 2025 the EJA assesses a $30 Equal Justice Fee on docket filings in district courts for civil cases, court of appeals and probate courts. Civil case filings in county courts are assessed an equal justice fee of $10, except for filings in small claims court. Revenues from these fees are not state revenue and must be used to provide access to legal representation for indigent defendants and to cover the EJA’s direct and indirect administration costs. Persons whose income is below 250 percent of the federal poverty limit are exempt from paying the fee.

The EJA must report fund balances, the types of cases for the individuals served by the fund, and the number of individuals served by the fund to the General Assembly on an annual basis.