News Release

Texas Access to Justice Commission
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
 
October 26, 2012

Texas Representative Senfronia Thompson Receives Texas Access to Justice Legislative Hero Award

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Access to Justice Commission and Texas Access to Justice Foundation honored Representative Senfronia Thompson with the Texas Access to Justice Legislative Hero Award for her contributions to improving access to justice in Texas during a special presentation on Thursday, Oct. 25, in Houston. Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht, the Court’s liaison for access to justice issues, presented the award to Rep. Thompson during the Home Safe Home Gala benefiting Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA) in Houston.

Through the remarkable leadership and vigilance of Rep. Thompson, the Texas Legislature helped fund basic civil legal services. Rep. Thompson realized the valuable role legal aid plays in providing access to our courts and helped enhance that access for vulnerable Texans unable to pay for legal assistance from private attorneys.

“The bipartisan support we received in the Legislature gives many struggling Texans the opportunity to receive assistance with basic civil legal services,” Justice Hecht said. “We are grateful for the exceptional assistance from Representative Thompson as we continue to expand access to justice to Texans in need.”

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 state.

“I’m honored to receive this award that represents the significance of affirming our court system is available to all,” Rep. Thompson said. “It is paramount that all citizens should have access to our justice system when they are in need.”

Rep. Thompson is serving her 20th term in the Texas House of Representatives. She serves as chair of the House Local and Consent Calendars Committee and the Women’s Health Caucus. She is co-chair of the Joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking. During her legislative career, Rep. Thompson has received numerous awards, including the Legislator of the Year Award from the Texas Family Law Foundation and was one of the Top 10 Best Legislators by Capitol Inside and Texas Tribune.

Rep. Thompson is a native of Houston, Texas. She is an attorney and former public school teacher.

Legal aid organizations funded by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation help more than 100,000 low-income Texas families each year with their civil legal needs. However, due to a lack of resources, only about 20 to 25 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income and poor Texans are being met. Currently, only one legal aid lawyer is available to provide assistance for every 11,152 Texans who qualify. activities related to the provision of legal aid in the state.

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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 100,000 Texas families each year.

Contact: Kimberly Schmitt
512-320-0099, ext. 104
kschmitt@teajf.org

 

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