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Notice

Request for Comments-Agricultural Worker Population Data for Basic Field-Migrant Grants

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AGENCY:

Legal Services Corporation

ACTION:

Request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) provides special population grants to effectively and efficiently fund civil legal aid services to address the legal needs of agricultural workers and their dependents through grants entitled “Basic Field—Migrant.” The funding for these grants is based on data regarding the eligible client population to be served. LSC has obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor new data regarding this population that are more current than the data LSC has been using and that better reflect the population to be served. LSC seeks comments on a proposal to (1) use the new data for grants beginning in January 2016, (2) phase in the funding changes to provide intermediate funding halfway between the old and new levels for 2016 and to fully implement the new levels for 2017, and (3) update the data every three years on the same cycle as LSC updates poverty population data from the U.S. Census Bureau for the distribution of LSC's Basic Field—General grants.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted by March 20, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments must be submitted to Mark Freedman, Senior Assistant General Counsel, Legal Services Corporation, 3333 K St. NW., Washington, DC 20007; 202-295-1623 (phone); 202-337-6519 (fax); mfreedman@lsc.gov. Electronic submissions are preferred via email with attachments in Acrobat PDF format. Written comments sent to any other address or received after the end of the comment period may not be considered by LSC.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mark Freedman, Senior Assistant General Counsel, Legal Services Corporation, 3333 K St. NW., Washington, DC 20007; 202-295-1623 (phone); 202-337-6519 (fax); mfreedman@lsc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Legal Services Corporation (“LSC” or Start Printed Page 5792“Corporation”) was established through the LSC Act “for the purpose of providing financial support for legal assistance in noncriminal matters or proceedings to persons financially unable to afford such assistance.” 42 U.S.C. 2996b(a). LSC performs this function primarily through distributing funding appropriated by Congress to independent civil legal aid programs providing legal services to low-income persons throughout the United States and its possessions and territories. 42 U.S.C. 2996e(a)(1)(A). LSC designates geographic service areas and structures grants to support services to the entire eligible population in a service area or to a specified subpopulation of eligible clients. 45 CFR 1634.2(c) & (d), 1634.3(b). LSC awards these grants through a competitive process. 45 CFR part 1634. Congress has mandated that LSC “insure that grants and contracts are made so as to provide the most economical and effective delivery of legal assistance to persons in both urban and rural areas.” 42 U.S.C. 2996f(a)(3).

Throughout the United States and U.S. territories, LSC provides Basic Field—General grants to support legal services for eligible clients. LSC provides funding for those grants on a per-capita basis using the poverty population as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau every three years. Pub. L. 104-134, tit. V, 501(a), 110 Stat. 1321, 1321-50 (1996), as amended by Pub. L. 113-6, div. B, tit. IV, 127 Stat. 198, 268 (2013) (LSC funding formula adopted in 1996, incorporated by reference in LSC's appropriations thereafter, and amended in 2013). Since its establishment in 1974, LSC has also provided subpopulation grants to support legal services for the needs of agricultural workers through Basic Field—Migrant grants under the authority of the LSC Act to structure grants for the most economic and effective delivery of legal assistance. 42 U.S.C. 2996f(a)(3). Congress amended the LSC Act in 1977 to require that LSC conduct a study of the special legal needs of various subpopulations, including migrant or seasonal farm workers, and develop and implement appropriate means of addressing those needs. 42 U.S.C. 2996f(h). LSC's study, issued in 1979, concluded that specialized legal expertise and knowledge were needed to address the distinctive “unmet special legal problems” that migrant and seasonal farmworkers shared because of their status as farmworkers. Legal Services Corporation, Special Legal Problems and Problems of Access to Legal Services of Veterans, Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers, Native Americans, People, with Limited English-Speaking Ability, and Individuals in Sparsely Populated Areas, 1979.

LSC provides funding for Basic Field—Migrant grants on a per-capita basis by determining the size of the subpopulation and separating that population from the overall poverty population for the applicable geographic area or areas. LSC expects programs receiving these grants to serve the legal needs of a broad range of eligible agricultural workers and their dependents who have specialized legal needs that are most effectively and efficiently served through a dedicated grant program. LSC currently uses data regarding migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and their families, from the early 1990s, with some adjustments based on changes in the general poverty population. These data are no longer current and do not reflect the entire population served by these grants.

The United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) collects data regarding agricultural workers for federal grants serving the needs of the American agricultural worker population. The U.S. Census Bureau does not maintain data regarding agricultural workers. LSC has contracted with ETA for more current data regarding the agricultural worker population served by these grants. ETA has provided LSC with these data, including state-by-state breakdowns. The changes in data will result in changes in funding levels for these grants. A description of these data and their development is available at: http://www.lsc.gov/​about/​mattersforcomment.php.

LSC management has proposed to the LSC Board of Directors (Board) that LSC use the new data for these grants as follows:

(1) Implement the new data for calculation of these grants beginning in January 2016;

(2) phase in the funding changes to provide intermediate funding halfway between the old and new levels for 2016 and to fully implement the new levels for 2017;

(3) update the data every three years on the same cycle as LSC updates poverty population data from the U.S. Census Bureau for the distribution of LSC's Basic Field—General grants.

LSC Management presented this proposal to the Board's Operations and Regulations Committee (Committee) on January 22, 2015. The Committee then recommended Management's proposal to the full board on January 24, 2015. The Board adopted the recommendation of Management and the Committee that LSC publish this notice of Management's proposal in the Federal Register for comment. The Committee will meet to consider all comments received and make a recommendation to the Board for a final decision.

LSC management's proposal and related documents are available at: http://www.lsc.gov/​about/​mattersforcomment.php.

LSC invites public comment on this issue. Interested parties may submit comments to LSC before the deadline stated above.

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Dated: January 29, 2015.

Stefanie K. Davis,

Assistant General Counsel.

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[FR Doc. 2015-02029 Filed 2-2-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7050-01-P