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President Obama signed a compromise bill April 15 to fund the rest of fiscal year 2011, approving an estimated $38 billion in reductions in discretionary non-defense spending and setting the stage for the upcoming debate on fiscal year 2012 appropriations.
When nearly 300 bar leaders from around the country descended on Capitol Hill April 12-14 for ABA Day in Washington, they focused their attention on three pressing issues: Legal Services Corporation appropriations, the state court funding crisis, and prompt filling of federal judicial vacancies.
Sen. Rob Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) have introduced federal legislation to help collect overdue court-ordered financial obligations.
The ABA is recommending that the Department of Justice (DOJ) reconsider portions of standards proposed in February that are intended to prevent, detect and respond to prison rape.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) has reintroduced legislation to establish an independent National Criminal Justice Commission to undertake the first comprehensive examination of the U.S. criminal justice system in more than 45 years.
The ABA told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution last month that the association opposes legislation to amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to reinstate a mandatory sanctions provision that was eliminated in 1993 because it was counterproductive and harmful to the resolution of civil litigation.
ABA President Stephen N. Zack urged a House Appropriations subcommittee last month to maintain funding in fiscal year 2012 for rule of law activities such as those implemented by the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI).
The ABA expressed support last month for continuation of federal funding for syringe exchange programs, which the association maintains are an effective public strategy for reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS in the United States.