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ABA Criminal Justice Section Chair Mathias H. Heck Jr. emphasized in testimony last month that collateral consequences of conviction often are at odds with public safety when they work to prevent ex-offenders from finding employment and becoming productive citizens. Heck, testifying during a June 26 hearing before the House Judiciary Task Force on Over-Criminalization, explained that collateral consequences, labeled the “hidden world of punishment” by Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, encompass a wide range of restrictions on ex-prisoners that include disenfranchisement, deportation, loss of professional licenses, felon registration, and ineligibility for certain public welfare benefits.
When President Obama asked Congress June 30 for supplemental appropriations and additional legal authorities for the Department of Homeland Security to deal with the significant increase in the numbers of unaccompanied children entering the United States, the ABA raised concerns about a proposal that may change current law to expedite the removal of these children without appropriate due process protections.
ABA President-elect William C. Hubbard urged a House panel this month to protect the ability of personal service businesses, including law firms, to use the cash method of accounting because it is simple and generally correlates with the manner in which they do business − on a cash basis. Hubbard also warned that the proposal by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to require accrual accounting for many law firms would add unnecessary complexity and cause serious financial harm to these firms.
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has made only minor modifications in the Grant Assurances that the LSC will use when it enters into grants with LSC recipients in 2015. During an extended comment period on possible revisions to the Grant Assurances, ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman expressed the ABA’s concerns June 20 about proposed changes to Grant Assurance #10 regarding government access to the records of LSC recipients. The ABA comments were prepared in coordination with the association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and the Center for Professional Responsibility.
The second annual Human Rights Lobby Day, coordinated by the ABA Section of International Law’s Human Rights Committee and the Governmental Affairs Office in conjunction with the action network of Global Solutions, brought dozens of participants to Capitol Hill June 19 to urge congressional action on several international treaties and to support increased U.S. support for the International Criminal Court.
Voting law changes adopted by states in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. ___ (2013), are raising the specter of potential voting discrimination. In response, the ABA is urging enactment of S. 1945, a bill that would restore and strengthen Voting Rights Act (VRA) provisions.
The ABA urged the House Education and the Workforce Committee to move ahead expeditiously on H.R. 4122, a bill introduced June 13 to reauthorize the Older Americans Act of 1965.
A new study launched by the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) is analyzing SSA’s laws, regulations, policies, and practices concerning evaluation of claimants’ symptoms, including pain, in the adjudication of Social Security disability claims.
The ABA has launched the new Veterans’ Claims Assistance Network (ABA VCAN) to recruit volunteer lawyers to provide free assistance to unrepresented veterans who request their help in completing their disability claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).