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The ABA House of Delegates, meeting Aug. 11 and 12 during the association’s Annual Meeting in Boston, adopted a range of new policy positions, including resolutions supporting greater access to legal services, cybersecurity programs, and steps to establish workplace policies addressing domestic violence.
New ABA President William C. Hubbard, who began his one-year term Aug. 12 at the ABA Annual Meeting, will focus on improving delivery of services to the poor and middle class, working to reform sentencing laws and ease reentry into the community for ex-prisoners, and supporting efforts to train lawyers to defend victims of domestic violence.
President Obama is weighing steps he may take by executive order following the failure of Congress to give final approval to legislation addressing the unprecedented influx of unaccompanied children entering the United States at the southwest border.
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the country’s single largest funder of civil legal aid, marked its 40th anniversary July 25 and is planning a three-day event Sept. 14-15 in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the milestone.
In action strongly supported by the ABA, the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) unanimously approved an amendment last month to apply reduced sentencing guidelines retroactively to people who are currently serving time for certain nonviolent drug offenses. The commission added retroactivity to a sentencing reduction amendment approved last April and sent to Congress as part of the 2014 amendments to the drug sentencing guidelines.
The Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) adopted a resolution at its annual meeting in July supporting the ABA’s Voluntary Good Practices Guidance for Lawyers to Detect and Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Voluntary Guidance), which was developed by the ABA Task Force on Gatekeeper Regulation and the Profession and several other ABA and other legal entities before being approved by the ABA House of Delegates in 2010.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is ready for a full Senate vote when Congress returns from its August recess. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee cleared the CRPD for the full Senate July 22 by a 12-6 vote. The committee’s action, according to the ABA, sends “a clear message to the world of U.S. support for the human rights principles of the treaty as well as our role as a world leader for the rights of people with disabilities.
The ABA applauded Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) this month for introducing legislation in June to help disabled individuals get the long-term care they need outside of institutions.
Following House passage in July of an appropriations bill that would reduce IRS funding in fiscal year 2015 to its lowest level in 10 years, the ABA reiterated support for ensuring that the IRS receives adequate funding to carry out its mission of taxpayer service and enforcement of federal tax laws.
When President Obama issued Executive Order 13672 last month to further prohibit discrimination by federal agencies and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, then ABA President James R. Silkenat was quick to commend the action.