Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin Praises Passage of Bill to Create Free Legal Assistance for Active Military and Vets

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

“It is a way to help those who have given so much to this country,” said Irwin.

SACRAMENTO – Active military service members and veterans will gain access to free legal help in civil cases, if a bill written by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) and passed recently by the Legislature is signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

“It is a way to help those who have given so much to this country,” said Irwin. “This will allow them to avoid financial stress without utilizing significant public funds. It’s an important ‘win’ for everyone.”

AB 2085 will create the Office of Military Assistance within the California Military Department.  The new office will serve as a clearinghouse for the coordination of attorneys who offer pro bono legal services to service members. “I am very pleased because while they do have access to some legal help, this will allow our active military and veteran’s access to additional representation for issues such as family law, consumer fraud, property and landlord issues and predatory lending,” said Irwin.

Some legal services are already provided for military members through the Judge Advocates General (JAG), but there is a gap in service for a variety of legal issues. The new legislation calls for the Office of Military Assistance to focus on connecting service members to attorneys offering free legal help in additional areas, such as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, naturalization and immigration and creditor and debtor issues.

**Assemblymember Irwin’s website: