AUGUSTA, Maine — Lawmakers and attorneys are looking at ways to reform the state’s system for helping low-income Mainers in need of legal services.

The biennial budget tasked a new working group with preparing a report by Dec. 6. The group’s next meeting is Thursday.

Republican state Sen. Lisa Keim is chairing the working group and says that the system is in dire need of reform. Republican Gov. Paul LePage has proposed reforms such as performance standards.

This year, attorneys were forced to work without pay for weeks when the state’s indigent legal services commission faced a funding gap that attorneys called politicized and avoidable.

The Judiciary Committee could take the findings and report out a bill beginning in January.

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