Chief Sponsor: Val L. Peterson

Senate Sponsor: Peter C. Knudson


9     General Description:
10          This bill recognizes the pro bono legal assistance offered by the Office of Military and
11     Veteran Legal Assistance.
12     Highlighted Provisions:
13          This resolution:
14          ▸     recognizes the Office of Military and Veteran Legal Assistance for offering pro
15     bono legal assistance and representation to Veterans and to Active Duty, Reserve,
16     and National Guard Servicemembers.
17     Special Clauses:
18          None

20     Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein:
21          WHEREAS, throughout their service Veterans and Military Servicemembers have
22     sacrificed for their families, communities, and nation to fulfill their duty to protect the United
23     States and to fight for freedom and justice;
24          WHEREAS, it is this country's duty to protect our Veterans and Military
25     Servicemembers, promote their well-being, and ensure justice for them and their families;
26          WHEREAS, Veterans and Military Servicemembers are strengthened and supported by
27     their families;

28          WHEREAS, these families and their military sponsors bring a need for support and
29     service in a wide variety of areas including legal assistance;
30          WHEREAS, for example, Veterans and Military Servicemembers who have been
31     deployed to protect their nation have concerns about who would come to the aid of the families
32     they leave behind if a problem or crisis occurs in their absence;
33          WHEREAS, none of the military services have sufficient resources to fully provide this
34     aid;
35          WHEREAS, Veterans and Military Servicemembers and their families have access to
36     military legal assistance attorneys to receive advice and assistance, but they must generally
37     obtain their own counsel to represent them in court;
38          WHEREAS, coordinating pro bono legal programs to connect qualified attorneys with
39     Veterans and Military Servicemembers and their families would provide a welcome legal
40     recourse for those defending their nation;
41          WHEREAS, the Military and Veteran Legal Assistance Program is led by the Utah
42     Office of the Attorney General in conjunction with the Utah Department of Veterans and
43     Military Affairs;
44          WHEREAS, the Office of Military and Veteran Legal Assistance (OMVLA) is a
45     public-private partnership offering pro bono legal assistance and representation to Veterans and
46     Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Servicemembers in a variety of civil law matters;
47          WHEREAS, members of the Utah State Bar have expressed a willingness and desire to
48     provide these services on a pro bono basis;
49          WHEREAS, OMVLA pairs Veterans and Military Servicemembers in need of legal
50     assistance with local pro bono private legal counsel for civil matters;
51          WHEREAS, Veterans, Military Servicemembers, and their families need legal
52     assistance in various matters, including consumer fraud, military rights, immigration,
53     landlord/tenant, predatory lending, creditor/debtor, employment and re-employment, and wills
54     and power of attorneys;
55          WHEREAS, assistance through OMVLA is by referral only;
56          WHEREAS, Servicemembers access these services by contacting their local Judge
57     Advocate General Office, and Veterans contact their local Veterans Service Officers through
58     the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs;

59          WHEREAS, after necessary paperwork is completed, OMVLA staff considers several
60     factors in determining qualification for the program including verification of Active Duty,
61     Reserve, or National Guard military status;
62          WHEREAS, for Veterans, qualification includes verification that they have received
63     honorable or general discharges;
64          WHEREAS, OMVLA staff must also consider whether the person has a legal issue that
65     is covered under the program;
66          WHEREAS, upon verification of qualifications, applicants are referred to a private pro
67     bono attorney;
68          WHEREAS, the attorney is a volunteer and will represent without charge unless
69     awarded attorney fees from the opposing party;
70          WHEREAS, the attorney assigned to a case is not employed by or otherwise associated
71     with the Utah Office of the Attorney General, other than volunteering to assist with the legal
72     problem without charge; and
73          WHEREAS, services provided by the OMVLA can lend invaluable assistance to
74     Veterans and Military Servicemembers:
75          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
76     Governor concurring therein, recognizes the Office of Military and Veteran Legal Assistance
77     for offering pro bono legal assistance and representation to Veterans and to Active Duty,
78     Reserve, and National Guard Servicemembers.
79          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Office of
80     Military and Veteran Legal Assistance, the Utah Office of the Attorney General, and the Utah
81     Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.

Legislative Review Note
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel