LD 1680
Session - 128th Maine Legislature
C "A", Filing Number H-601, Sponsored by
LR 2691
Item 2
Bill Tracking, Additional Documents Chamber Status

Amend the bill by striking out all of section 2 and inserting the following:

Sec. 2. 36 MRSA §5219-RR  is enacted to read:

§ 5219-RR Access to justice credit

1 Definitions.   As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A "Court" means the Supreme Judicial Court or its designee.
B "Eligible attorney" means a person eligible to practice law in the State under Title 4, chapter 17 who, after January 1, 2019:

(1) Agrees to practice law in a private practice setting for at least 5 years by joining an existing legal practice, establishing a new legal practice or purchasing an existing legal practice in an underserved area;

(2) Is rostered by the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services to accept court appointments to represent clients in an underserved area;

(3) Agrees to perform pro bono legal services in an underserved area; and

(4) Is certified by the court under subsection 3 to be eligible for the credit under this section.

C "Underserved area" means an area in the State that is determined by the court to be an area where there is insufficient access to legal services. When identifying underserved areas, the court shall take into consideration the ratio of the number of attorneys to the population.
2 Credit.   An eligible attorney is allowed a credit for each taxable year, not to exceed $6,000, against the taxes due under this Part. The credit may be claimed in the first year that the eligible attorney meets the conditions of eligibility for at least 6 months and in each of the 4 subsequent years.
3 Eligibility limitation; certification.   The court may certify up to 5 eligible attorneys in each year in 2019 through 2024. Additional attorneys may not be certified after 2024. The court shall annually, at year-end, verify that certified attorneys continue to be eligible for the credit under this section and shall decertify any attorney who ceases to meet the conditions of eligibility. The court shall notify the bureau whenever an attorney is certified or decertified. A decertified attorney ceases to be eligible for the credit under this section beginning with the tax year during which the attorney is decertified.
4 Rules.   The court shall adopt rules to implement this section.
5 Report; review.   By February 15, 2024, the State Tax Assessor shall submit to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over taxation matters a report that identifies the number of eligible attorneys claiming the credit under this section each year in which the credit is available and identifies the underserved areas where those attorneys practice. The committee shall review the report and determine the effectiveness of the credit in expanding legal services to underserved areas. The committee may submit legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 131st Legislature related to the report.

Sec. 3. Application. This Act applies to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019.’


This amendment changes the entity determining and verifying eligibility for the access to justice credit proposed in the bill from the Board of Overseers of the Bar to the Supreme Judicial Court. It also reduces the maximum annual credit from $12,000 to $6,000, adds requirements that an eligible attorney must be rostered by the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services to accept court appointments and agree to perform pro bono legal services and clarifies the definition of "underserved area." The amendment also adds an application date.

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