Excerpt from article
In the midst of a deep recession, the passage of a "civil Gideon" bill was hailed as nothing short of extraordinary. AB 590 makes California the first state in the nation to establish a right to counsel for low-income litigants in life-changing civil proceedings. It also calls for the launch of at least one pilot program starting in July 2011, to be funded by a $10 increase in some court fees. As chairman of the Assembly's Judiciary Committee, Feuer (D-Los Angeles) authored the legislation. He received critical support from Baker, the committee's deputy chief counsel, who spent the past five years promoting the idea. Meanwhile, Wilson mobilized the state's legal aid societies. And McMorrow, aided by Manatt attorney Fred L. Main, lobbied hard behind the scenes to win the governor's support. "This is something that has been long, long advocated," UC Berkeley School of Law professor Jesse Choper observed, after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill in October. "This will be greeted by people who are interested in the rights of economically deprived folks as an extraordinarily important step."
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