FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Texas Senator José Rodríguez Receives Texas Access to Justice Legislative Hero Award
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Access to Justice Commission and Texas Access to Justice Foundation honored Senator José Rodríguez with the Texas Access to Justice Legislative Hero Award for his contributions to improving access to justice in Texas during a special presentation in El Paso on April 4. Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht, the Court’s liaison for access to justice issues, presented the award to Senator Rodríguez during the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s Art Show.
After several months of leading the charge in the Texas Legislature to fund legal aid, Senator José Rodríguez was successful in persuading Senate leadership to secure funding for basic civil legal services. Through his extraordinary leadership, Senator Rodríguez has helped improve access to justice for those vulnerable Texans unable to pay for legal assistance from private attorneys.
“Senator Rodriguez’s unwavering support in the Legislature helps many struggling Texans receive assistance with basic civil legal services; help that is essential to the integrity of the rule of law,” Justice Hecht said. “Hard economic times both increase the need for legal services and decrease financial support, and we are grateful for the Senator’s tremendous work and support as we continue to provide access to justice to Texans in need.”
"I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive this award. Last session, we worked hard to ensure funding for legal aid and indigent defense, but the fight is far from over. Even with this funding; only one in five Texans in need of legal help - veterans, victims of domestic violence, and senior citizens - are being served. During the next legislative session, I will continue to work diligently to find a stable source of revenue for these critical legal services. If we don't do something to fix this funding crisis, many in need will be denied their fundamental, constitutional right to access the courts," Senator José Rodríguez said.
The Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation launched the
Legislative Hero Award program in 2010 to recognize legislators who,
through their efforts, have significantly advanced access to justice in
Texas by assisting with the appropriation of funds and/or other
substantive activities related to the provision of legal aid in the
The Texas Access to Justice Commission was created in 2001 by the Supreme Court of Texas to develop and implement policy initiatives designed to expand access to and enhance the quality of justice in civil legal matters for low-income Texans. The Commission has created several initiatives to increase resources and awareness of legal aid. For more information, please visit www.TexasATJ.org.
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (www.teajf.org), created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1984, is the primary state-based funding source for the provision of civil legal aid in Texas. The organization is committed to the vision that all Texans will have equal access to justice, regardless of their income. The Foundation administers a variety of funding sources, which are earmarked to assist nonprofit organizations in providing legal aid to approximately 120,000 Texas families each year.