What's New in Washington

November 2019

ABA Comments on Proposed Special Immigrant Juvenile Classification Amendments

On November 15, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez submitted comments to the Office of Policy and Strategy for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on the proposed rule to amend the regulations governing the Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification and related application for adjustment of status to permanent resident. Read more...

U.S. SENATE PASSES APPROPRIATIONS MINIBUS PROVIDING $425.5 MILLION FOR LSC IN FY2020

On October 31st, 2019, the United States Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) appropriations bill, H.R. 3055, a “minibus” combining four of the twelve regular FY2020 appropriations bills: 1. the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS), 2. Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, 3. Interior, Environment, and 4. Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 84-9 and a message on Senate action was subsequently sent to the House on November 4th.

In the Senate CJS appropriations bill, the Legal Services Corporation has been appropriated $425,500,000—a $10.5 million increase over the current funding of $415 million. $415 million is the largest amount of appropriated funds the LSC has ever received in absolute dollars, though not in inflation-adjusted dollars. 

At present, there appears a good chance that the CJS bill will become law before Christmas.

ABA Letter Urging Action on Two Bills to Protect Tribal Communities from Government Shutdowns

On November 11, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez sent a letter to the House Committee on Natural Resources urging action on H.R. 1135 (Young, R-AK) and H.R. 1128 (McCollum, D-MN), two bipartisan bills that would assist in protecting tribal communities from the effects of a government shutdown by authorizing advance appropriations funding for essential Indian programs. Read more...

ABA Letter Thanking House Members for Introducing the Stamp Out Elder Abuse Act

On November 11, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez submitted letters to Representatives Bonamici, King, Maloney, and Schakowsky thanking them for their work in introducing H.R. 2719, the Stamp Out Elder Abuse Act, which would afford members of the public a convenient way to contribute to elder abuse prevention and elder justice activities. Read more...

October 2019

ABA Comments in Response to the Executive Office for Immigration Review's Interim Rule, 84 Fed. Reg. 44537

On October 25, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez submitted comments to the Executive Office for Immigration Review with regard to the Interim Rule that went into effect on August 26, 2019. Provisions of the rule include changes to internal organization as well as the delegation of authority to adjudicate cases and appeals. Given its commitment to due process and fundamental fairness, the ABA has concerns regarding adverse impacts that the Interim Rule may have on: (1) access to legal information and services for noncitizens; and (2) full and fair administrative review of immigration adjudications. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Several Provisions of the House National Defense Authorization Act

On October 25, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez sent a letter to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to express support for several provisions of the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 2500) for
FY2020. Read more...

ABA Letter Urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to Support S. 2511, Legislation to Permanently Authorize Security Measures for Supreme Court Justices

On October 23, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of S. 2511, legislation to permanently authorize security for Supreme Court Justices and their official guests when they are on the grounds of the Court and wherever they travel. Read more...

ABA Opposes Legislation Imposing Beneficial Ownership Reporting Requirements on Small Businesses and Their Attorneys

On October 22, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez sent a letter to all Members of the House of Representatives opposing H.R. 2513, the “Corporate Transparency Act of 2019,” which would require millions of small businesses and their attorneys to submit detailed information about the businesses’ “beneficial owners” to the Treasury Department and require the Department to disclose the information to governmental agencies and financial institutions upon request and without a subpoena. The ABA’s letter expressed concerns that the bill would impose burdensome and costly new regulatory burdens on small businesses and their attorneys, create serious privacy concerns, and not be as effective as other existing tools designed to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. Read more...

ABA Letter Urging Governor DeSantis to Reopen a Clemency Investigation

One October 22, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez submitted a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida urgining him to reopen the clemency investigation into James Dailey's case in light of new evidence of innocence that has emerged in recent years but has not been considered on the merits by any court. 

While the ABA takes no position on the constitutionality of the death penalty itself, the Association has long been committed to ensuring that capital jurisdictions take every care to avoid the worst possible miscarriage of justice—the execution of an actually innocent person. Read more here...


ABA Letter Thanking Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for LSC Funding

On October 8, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez submitted a letter to the Senate Subcommittee on  Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies , congratulating them on the completion of the committee's bill through the full Appropriations Committee. Read more...

In particular, the ABA was pleased to see that you increased Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funding by $10.5 million in your bill. We urge you to make LSC a top priority in reconciling the differences with the House bill and to move as close to the House funding level as possible.

ABA Letter Supporting the Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2019 (HCYA), H.R. 2001

On October 15, 2019, ABA president Judy Perry Martinez submitted two separate letters to the House Committees on Finance and to the House Committee on Education and Labor, supporting The Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2019, H.R. 2011. This bipartisan legislation would make it easier for local communities to help break the cycle of homelessness for children and youth by amending the definition of "homeless" for HUD programs to match that of other agencies in order to better ensure federal homeless assistance programs work together more seamlessly. 

ABA Letter Supporting a Technical Corrections Bill for the Elderly Offender Home Detention Pilot Program

On October 8, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, urging their support for H.R. 4018—a bipartisan technical corrections bill concerning the Elderly Offender Home Detention Pilot Program. The pilot program had been reauthorized under the First Step Act (P.L. 115-391), offering to model nonviolent elderly and terminally ill inmates an opportunity to serve the remainder of their sentence on home detention. If enacted, H.R. 4018 would ensure that when calculating whether a person has served a sufficient portion of their sentence to become eligible for the pilot program that the Bureau reduces the length of the original sentence imposed by the “good time” credits the person had been awarded while behind bars. Read more...

September 2019

ABA Letter Opposing Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

On September 23, 2019, President Judy Perry Martinez wrote the U.S. Department of Agriculture to express ABA opposition to proposed revisions to “categorical eligibility” for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The ABA supports recognition of a human right to food and basic nutrition and several million persons would be rendered ineligible for food assistance under the changes and millions more would endure a more burdensome application process. Read more...

ABA Letter Supporting the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019

On September 6, 2019, ABA President Judy Martinez submitted a letter to the House Committee on the Judiciary to express our support for the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (the “CASE Act”).  If enacted, the CASE Act would establish a Copyright Claims Board within the United States Copyright Office to resolve copyright claims up to $15,000 for a single work and up to $30,000 in one proceeding in which two or more claims are asserted. Read more....

ABA Letter Opposing the Expansion of Expedited Removal

On September 23, 2019, ABA president Judy Perry Martinez submitted a comment letter to the Department of Homeland Security opposing the expansion of expedited removal, noting that it will increase the number of individuals subjected to this summary procedure that could result in their removal from the United States without the opportunity to consult with counsel or seek review from an impartial adjudicator. Read more...

ABA Urges CFPB to Withdraw Safe Harbor Proposal for Creditor Litigation Attorneys, Reject “Meaningful Attorney Involvement” Concept

On September 18, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez submitted a comment letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding its proposed rule on “Debt Collection Practices (Regulation F).” The ABA’s letter urged the CFPB to withdraw the safe harbor provision in the proposed rule aimed at creditor litigation attorneys, reject the flawed “meaningful attorney involvement” concept, and recognize the courts’ primary and inherent authority to oversee and address the conduct of all attorneys engaged in litigation before them. Read more…

ABA Urges Labor Department to Withdraw Proposed Rule Expanding the Religious Exemption in Executive Order 11246

On September 16, 2019, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez submitted a comment letter to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs urging it to withdraw its proposed rule on Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the Equal Opportunity Clause’s Religious Exemption. The letter expressed concerns that the proposed rule would improperly expand the existing religious exemption in Executive Order 11246, thus resulting in greater discrimination against workers on the basis of religion. Read more…

ABA Letter on the Implementation of the Waiver Provision in the Travel Ban

On September 4, ABA President Judy Perry Martinez sent a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to express the ABA's serious concern regarding recent troubling reports concerning the implementation of Presidential Proclamation 9645, known as the “Travel Ban.” The ABA urges Congress and the Administration to take measures to ensure that the waiver provision of the Ban is implemented consistent with the rule of law. Read more...

July 2019

ABA Letter in Support of H.R. 716, the Homeless Veterans Legal Services Act of 2019

On July 17, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity expressing our support of H.R. 716, the Homeless Veterans Legal Services Act of 2019, which would authorize proven strategies for removing chronic barriers blocking homeless veterans from receiving the promised benefits, services, and treatment they need for self-sufficiency and success. Read more...

ABA Letter Urging the Establishment of an Independent Immigration Court

On July 11, 2019, ABA President Robert Carlson joined with leaders of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Federal Bar Association, and National Association of Immigration Judges in sending a letter to Congress urging the establishment of an independent immigration court. Read more...

June 2019

ABA Opposes Anti-Money Laundering Legislation That Undermines Client Confidentiality in Real Estate Transactions, Imposes Burdensome Regulations on Small Businesses

On June 19, ABA President Robert Carlson sent a letter to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee expressing concerns over key provisions in the draft “ILLICIT CASH Act” that would require attorneys representing clients in real estate transactions to report confidential client information to the Treasury Department and impose burdensome beneficial ownership reporting requirements on small businesses. The ABA’s letter was submitted for the record of the Committee’s June 20 hearing on “Outside Perspectives on the Collection of Beneficial Ownership Information.” Read more...

ABA Comments Regarding the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS)

On June 18, ABA President Robert M. Carlson submitted comments to Kathleen McHugh, Policy Division Director for the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The comments reaffirm ABA's strong support for the AFCARS Final Rule issued in 2016, commends HHS' decision to retain three of the four education data elements from the Final Rule, and encourages reconsideration of the proposal to eliminate the education stability data element. Read more...

ABA Letter in Opposition to S. 1494, the Secure and Protect Act of 2019

On June 17, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing our opposition to S. 1494, the Secure and Protect Act of 2019, which would strip critical legal and other protections from immigrant children, not only harming their interests, but also undermining the fairness and integrity of our immigration system. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Supplemental Appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services

On June 17, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees expressing support for the passage of supplemental appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to ensure the appropriate treatment and care of unaccompanied immigrant children in government custody. Read more...

As of June 24th, bills have been introduced in both the House (H.R. 3401) and the Senate (S. 1900) to provide more than $4.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding for this program and other purposes. The White House has issued a Statement of Administration Policy opposing H.R. 3401. It is unclear whether the House and Senate will be able to pass legislation prior to the scheduled week-long July 4th recess.

Take Action: Go to the ABA Grassroots Action Center to urge Congress to immediately pass the supplemental funding necessary to provide for the safety and well-being of unaccompanied immigration children.

ABA Testimony in Support of Programs to Promote the Rule of Law Internationally

On June 3, ABA President Robert M. Carlson submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs urging continued funding in Fiscal Year 2020 for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Programs that help promote the rule of law in every part of the world. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act

On June 4, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act. This legislation would provide a critically-needed path to legal status and citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) recipients and other deserving young immigrants (collectively “Dreamers”). The ABA believes H.R. 6 is consistent with American ideals of fairness and opportunity. Read more...

ABA Testimony on Patent Protection Eligibility

On June 5, the ABA submitted written testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property commending the subcommittee for its work on developing a legislative solution to address the ambiguity, unpredictability and uncertainty posed by the current Supreme Court and Federal Circuit jurisprudence on patent subject matter eligibility. Read more...

May 2019

ABA Letter in Support of HB 2614

On May 29, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Oregon's House Joint Ways and Means Committee expressing support for HB 2614, which would remove suspension of a driver's license or driving privileges as a consequence of nonpayment of fines and fees. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of S.980, the Homeless Veterans Prevention Act

On May 21, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee expressing strong support for S. 980, the Homeless Veterans Prevention Act, which would authorize the VA Secretary to enter into private-public partnerships with appropriate organizations to deliver legal services to homeless veterans. Read more...

ABA Letter Regarding Illinois Bill to Reform Code of Criminal Procedure

On May 8, ABA President Robert Carlson sent a letter to Illinois House of Representatives member Jehan Gordan-Booth to oppose H.B. 1447. This bill would amend the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 and the Criminal Code of 2012 to allow the depletion of forensic evidence in cases where it is deemed necessary to pursue a meaningful analytical result. The ABA believes that this bill would permit forensic scientists to deplete evidence in testing even when such depletion may deny due process for a person being investigated for a crime. Read more...

ABA Letter Regarding Illinois Bill on Fines and Fees

On May 7, ABA President Robert Carlson sent a letter to the Illinois House Transportation Committee in support of the proposed revisions in the License to Work Act (SB 1786) that would remove suspension of a driver’s license or privilege as a consequence of nonpayment of highway tolls and parking tickets. Read more...

ABA Opposes Legislation Imposing Beneficial Ownership Reporting Requirements on Small Businesses and Their Lawyers

On May 6, ABA President Robert Carlson sent a letter to the House Financial Services Committee expressing concerns over H.R. 2513, the “Corporate Transparency Act of 2019,” which would require small businesses and many of their lawyers to submit information about the businesses’ “beneficial owners” to the Treasury Department and require the Department to disclose the information to governmental agencies and financial institutions upon request. The ABA’s letter urged Committee members to oppose the legislation during the markup scheduled for May 8. Read more…

ABA Opposition to Proposed Amendments to Optional Form 306

On May 1, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the National Bureau of Background Investigations in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) urging that OPM reject the proposed modifications to Question 9 of the OPM Optional Form 306, relating to an applicant’s participation in a pretrial intervention or diversionary program leading to the dismissal of a criminal charge. Read more...

April 2019

ABA Letter Opposing Increased Detention for Asylum Seekers

On April 23, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr to express the ABA's serious concerns regarding his decision in Matter of M-S-, which removes the right of certain asylum seekers to receive a bond hearing before an immigration judge. The ABA believes this decision will result in an increase in lengthy and unnecessary detention of vulnerable asylum seekers at significant cost to the government. Read more...

ABA Testimony on LSC FY 2020 Funding

On April 9, ABA President Robert M. Carlson submitted testimony to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies in support of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The ABA supports LSC's budget request of $593 million for FY 2020. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of The Equality Act of 2019

On April 5, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Labor in support of H.R.5, The Equality Act of 2019. The Act addresses the need to protect every American regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The letter offered several comments in support of the legislation and requested that the letter be made part of the hearing record. Read more...

ABA Testimony on LSC FY 2020 Funding

On April 4, ABA President Robert M. Carlson submitted testimony to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies in support of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The ABA supports LSC's budget request of $593 million for FY 2020. Read more...

ABA Letter Regarding LSC Board Nominees

On April 3, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate HELP committee regarding the nominations to the Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors. The ABA supports the confirmation of  Robert J. Grey, Jr., Abigail L. Kuzma, John G. Levi, John G. Malcolm, Frank X. Neuner, Jr., Julie Reiskin, and Gloria Valencia-Weber. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of H.R.5, The Equality Act of 2019

On April 2, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee in support of H.R.5, The Equality Act of 2019, which addresses the need to protect every American regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The letter offered several comments in support of the legislation and requested that the letter be made part of the hearing record. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of the Restoring Education and Learning ("REAL") Act

On April 1, 2019 ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Senator Brian Schatz expressing the ABA's appreciation for his leadership in introducing the Restoring Education and Learning (“REAL”) Act. The bill would restore Pell Grant eligibility for those seeking to improve their lives through education while in prison, a move the ABA believes will decrease recidivism and increase ex-offender employability. Read  more...

March 2019

ABA Letter to Senator Steve Daines in Support of S. 528

On March 27, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Senator Steve Daines in support of S. 528, the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act of 2019. The legislation would require covered public buildings, including courthouses, to contain a lactation room available to members of the public. Read more...

ABA Letter to Members of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works in Support of S. 528

On March 27, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works in support of S. 528, the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act of 2019. The bill would require covered public buildings, including courthouses, to contain a lactation room available to members of the public. Read more...

ABA Letter to the House of Representatives in Support of H.R. 7

On March 25, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives, urging them to vote for H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA), and to oppose any weakening amendments that may be offered on the floor. H.R. 7 would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which was passed by Congress expressly to prohibit “discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers.” The ABA believes the Paycheck Fairness Act will make critical, common-sense improvements to the law. Read more...

ABA Letter on Pet Policies for U.S. Military Installations

On March 13, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee urging the committee to expand its inquiry into the current condition of the military housing privatization initiative to include consideration of installation and private contractor policies that prevent many military families from bringing their family pets and, at times, service or emotional support animals when transferred between duty stations if they intend to live in military housing. Read more...

Statement in Support of Programs to Promote the Rule of Law Internationally

On March 12, 2019, the ABA testified before the House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee regarding the importance of continuing U.S. leadership and support for the promotion of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law around the world, including through robust FY 2020 funding for the Democracy Programs account. Read more...

February 2019

ABA Letter on Fairfax County Universal Representation Pilot Program

On February 27, the ABA sent a letter to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to support funding for programs that provide legal representation for detained immigrants who are in removal proceedings. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of the Paycheck Fairness Act

On February 12, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Alma Adams commending the scheduling of an upcoming hearing on H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act. H.R. 7 would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which was passed by Congress expressly to prohibit “discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers.” The ABA believes the Paycheck Fairness Act will make critical, common-sense improvements to this important and historic law so that we can continue to make progress in eradicating gender-based wage discrimination and advancing this nation’s longstanding goal of equal pay for equal work. Read more...

ABA Letter to HHS in Support of Updated Child Welfare Policy

On February 8, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Secretary Alex M. Azar II to commend the Department of Health and Human Services for their recent decision to update the Child Welfare Policy Manual, Section 8.1. Consistent with federal law, this policy change now allows States to match their own investments in child and parent counsel with federal support. The ABA believes this action will produce better outcomes for countless children, courts, and child welfare agencies throughout the country. Read more...

ABA Letter on Pre-Trial Victim Notification

On February 8, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Maryland House and Senate Judiciary Committees in support of the victim notification provisions included in the Maryland House Bill 263 and Senate Bill 551, Pretrial Release Services Program. The ABA strongly supports providing victims of crimes with information throughout the criminal justice process, including during the pretrial release process. Read the House letter. Read the Senate letter.

ABA Letter on Zero-Tolerance Policy

On February 6, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker urging him to: formally rescind the zero-tolerance policy; end the practice of expedited mass prosecution of immigrants, and allow for an individualized determination in deciding whether to file criminal charges; ensure each defendant receives effective assistance of counsel; and exercise prosecutorial discretion and refrain from prosecuting asylum seekers for the offense of illegal entry. The ABA believes that the U.S. can and must balance protecting border security with ensuring fairness and due process for all those present in our country. Read more...

ABA Letter to Montana Judiciary Committee on Fines and Fees

On February 6, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Montana House Judiciary Committee in support of the provision in LC0606 (HB 217) that would remove suspension of a driver’s license or privilege as a sentencing option for nonpayment of fines, fees, or restitution. Read more...

ABA Letter on Electronic Court Records Reform Act

On February 5, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-5) and Doug Collins (GA-9) in support of eliminating fees for public access to electronic court records on the PACER system. The ABA appreciates their leadership on this issue and look forward to working with them towards achieving the important objective of this legislation in the 116th Congress. Read more...

January 2019

ABA Letter on Constitutional Court in Guatemala

On January 11, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee expressing the ABA’s concern that the Guatemalan government is continuing to ignore the decisions of that country’s Constitutional Court, threatening efforts to establish the rule of law in Guatemala, to stem the flow of narcotics, and to address the migration challenges in the region, and urging that the U.S. make clear that there will be consequences if the Guatemalan government continues to ignore the orders of the Court or seeks to undermine its independence. Read more...

ABA Comment Letter on Arizona Capital Counsel Mechanism

On January 7, the ABA sent a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Policy regarding Arizona's capital counsel mechanism. The ABA views that Arizona’s current and past Mechanisms for appointing capital post-conviction counsel have failed to ensure the timely appointment of competent, adequately resourced counsel. Read more...

ABA Support for Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

On January 2, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent letters to the Virginia Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, and House of Delegates leadership urging them to secure the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia.  

December 2018

ABA Letter in Support of National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2018

On December 27, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to House leadership urging them to pass the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2018 before the 115th Congress ends. The bill would create a commission to conduct a comprehensive review of our nation's criminal justice systems and then recommends potential reforms needed at the federal, state, and tribal levels. Read more...

ABA Letter to VA on Caregiver Legal Services

On December 21,  ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a comment letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding the critically important need for providing legal services and support for injured veterans and their caregivers. Although the ABA recognizes that the comments will not be made part of the public record given that the deadline has closed, it appreciates the opportunity to still consider its views. Read more...

ABA Letters in Support of the First Step Act

On December 12, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent two letters to House and Senate leadership respectively, thanking them for their leadership in agreeing to bring a compromise version of the First Step Act to the House and Senate floors for swift consideration. The ABA recognizes that more work still needs to be done in the criminal justice arena, but passing the Act in the House and the Senate, and signing it into law this year, would be an important “first step” in the process. Read the House letter. Read the Senate letter.

ABA Letter in Support of the IMPROVE Act

On December 12, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Senate leadership, urging them to preserve critical Medicaid spousal impoverishment protections. Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) spousal impoverishment protections  expire at the end of this year, and the IMPROVE Act would provide for a three-month extension of the HSBC provisions. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of JJDPA Reauthorization

On December 11, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging swift, final action to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act (JJDPA) of 2018. The ABA believes that the vital funding, research, and technical assistance that JJDPA makes available are important steps to improve the juvenile justice system. Read more...

November 2018

ABA Comment Letter on Draft 2018 Revisions to the National Detention Standards

On November 26, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a comment letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  regarding the 2018 draft revisions to the National Detention Standards. The ABA has long been involved with issues related to conditions in immigration detention, and hopes that ICE renews its previous commitment to eventually implement the 2011 PBNDS at all facilities holding immigration detainees. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2018

On November 16, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Senators Rob Portman and Patrick Leahy thanking them for their leadership in introducing the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2018. The ABA believes that the reauthorization of this Act is essential to continuing the evidence-based and cost-effective support for programs that have improved reentry from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities, reduced recidivism, and increased public safety. Read more...

ABA Letter on Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2018

On November 14, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to Senators Orrin Hatch and Tim Kaine thanking them for their leadership in introducing the Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2018, which would prohibit discrimination against persons based on their lawful source of income. The ABA recently adopted policy urging such legislation and opposing prejudice against people who are reliant on government support to make ends meet. Read more...

ABA Comment Letter on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement

On November 6, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent comments to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Although the ABA's comments discuss many provisions of the proposed regulations, the ABA strongly urges that the proposed rules be withdrawn and that the relevant agencies instead work toward strengthening the framework of legal protections available for unaccompanied children, families, and other vulnerable asylum-seekers. Read more...

September 2018

ABA Comment Letter on Family Foster Home Licensing Standards

On September 28, ABA President Robert M. Carlson forwarded the results of grant research and comments from the Center on Children and the Law to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau regarding the proposed National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards (National Standards) as required under the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018. The research and comments expressed in the memo from the Center derive from approved grant research on model foster home standards and do not represent formal ABA policy. Read more...

ABA Urges House to Pass H.R. 5082, the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act

On September 19, ABA President Robert Carlson sent a letter to all Members of the House urging them to support prompt passage of H.R. 5082, the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act of 2018. The legislation would curb abusive lawsuits and burdensome regulations against creditor attorneys—and restore traditional state court regulation and oversight of the legal profession—by clarifying that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the CFPB’s regulatory authority do not apply to creditor attorneys when they are engaged in litigation and thus are under the direct supervision of the trial judge. Read more...

ABA Applauds Passage of the POWER Act

On September 18, the ABA sent thank you letters to the House and Senate co-sponsors of the POWER Act for their leadership on passing the bill and requires the chief judge from each judicial district to promote annually pro bono legal services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The law, which was enacted September 4th, includes in its findings the ABA Model Rules and commentary stating that “every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, has a responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer.”

ABA Implementation Letter on Planning for Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence During a Disaster

On September 17, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding an ABA resolution passed at the August 2018 Annual Meeting. This resolution urges federal, state, local, tribal and territorial emergency management agencies to provide training to staff and volunteers to respond to the unique needs of intimate partner and sexual violence during a disaster. Read more...

ABA Letter on Markup of H.R. 3487, H.R. 6730, H.R. 6754, and H.R. 6755

On September 13, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee expressing concern over four federal courts bills that are scheduled for markup by the committee on September 13 – H.R. 3487 (diversity jurisdiction); H.R. 6754 (restructuring the Ninth Circuit); H.R. 6730 (injunctive authority); and H.R. 6755 (multi-subject federal courts reform bill). The overriding concern is that each of these bills deserves thoughtful review and full consideration prior to markup. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support for H.R. 2899 - Second Chance Reauthorization Act

On September 12, ABA President Robert M. Carlson sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee in support for H.R. 2899, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act. The Second Chance Act provides support for programs that increase public safety and reduce recidivism by helping men, women, and juveniles transition from correctional confinement to productive lives in their communities. Read more...

ABA Letter Regarding LSC Board Nominees

On September 11, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate HELP committee regarding the nominations to the Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors. The ABA supports the confirmation of  Robert J. Grey, Jr., Abigail L. Kuzma, John G. Levi, John G. Malcolm, Frank X. Neuner, Jr., and Gloria Valencia-Weber. Read more...

ABA Testifies on the Nomination of the Honorable Brett M. Kavanaugh to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

On September 7, 2018, the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning the nomination of the Honorable Brett M. Kavanaugh to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Read more...

August 2018

ABA Comments Regarding NY Commission on Parental Legal Representation

On August 16, the ABA expressed support for the objectives of the New York State Commission on Parental Legal Representation, which is holding a series of hearings this fall. The commission is gathering information on steps to ensure quality representation for those eligible for assigned counsel in family law matters. Read more...

ABA Comments Regarding United States Sentencing Commission Priorities

On August 7, the ABA submitted comments to the United States Sentencing Commission regarding is proposed priorities. The ABA supports the Commission's proposals to address mandatory minimum sentences and compassionate release in its priorities through May 1, 2019. Read more...

July 2018

ABA Comments Regarding the Proposed Rule on Title X Family Planning Clinics

On July 30, the ABA submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the proposed rule on Title X family planning clinics. The ABA urged the elimination of the restrictions on abortion counseling and referral. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Amendment No. 3659 to H.R. 6147

On July 27, the ABA President sent a letter to Senator Warren expressing support for proposed amendment No. 3659 to H.R. 6147. Read more...

ABA Comment Letter on Adult Guardianship

On July 20, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate Special Committee on Aging regarding their request for comments on guardianship. Read more...

ABA Comment Letter on Family First Prevention Service Act of 2018 (FFPSA)

On July 20, the ABA sent a comment letter to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding their request for identifying prevention programs eligible for inclusion in the FFPSA Clearinghouse. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Scott Amendment to H.R. 6147

On July 16, the ABA President sent a letter to the Rules Committee urging it to allow the House to vote on the Scott amendment when it deliberates on H.R. 6147. The Scott amendment would help preserve the independence of Administrative Law Judges. Read more...  

June 2018

ABA Letter on Judgeships Needs of the Federal Judiciary

On June 27, the ABA sent a letter to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet expressing its views on the judgeship needs of the federal judiciary and requesting that the letter be made part of the record of the June 21, 2018 hearing, “Examining the Need for New Federal Judges.” Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act

On June 20, the ABA sent a letter to Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) in support of the Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act of 2018, which he plans to introduce next week. The “gay panic” and “trans panic” legal defenses are remnants of a by-gone era, and therefore should be legislated out of existence. Read more...

ABA Comment Letter to HHS Regarding AFCARS Final Rule

On June 13, the ABA submitted a comment letter to the Director of the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS). The ABA expressed continued support for the AFCARS Final Rule published in the Federal Register on December 14, 2016. Read more...

ABA Letter in Opposition to H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act

On June 12, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging members to oppose H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act, so long as it contains a provision that would end the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). Read more...

ABA Letter on Family Separation at the Southern Border

On June 12, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen opposing recent actions by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security that have resulted in a drastic increase in the separation of children from their parents when arriving at the southern border. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Funding for Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017

On June 12, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging funding for activities authorized under the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017. Read more...

ABA Letter on the Homeless Children and Youth Act

On June 8, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance in the House Committee on Financial Services thanking them for holding the June 6, 2018 hearing concerning H.R. 1511, the Homeless Children and Youth Act. The ABA urges the subcommittee to act favorably on H.R. 1511 so that the bill can be considered by the House and ultimately enacted during this Congress. Read more...

ABA Letter on Equal Rights Amendment

On June 6, the ABA sent a letter to Representative Maloney commending her for holding an ad hoc hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to focus public attention on the need to amend our U.S. Constitution to assure that gender equality is recognized as a fundamental, irrevocable right protected by the highest law of the land. Read more...

ABA Letter on FY 2018 TVPA Human Trafficking Funding Restriction

On June 4, the ABA sent a letter to Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs and the Director for the Office for Victims of Crime regarding FY 2018 TVPA human trafficking funding restriction. These newly proposed restrictions would create dangerous and troubling gaps in services for victims of human trafficking. Read more...

May 2018

ABA Testifies in Support of LSC Funding

On May 23, ABA President Hilarie Bass submitted testimony to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies in support of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The testimony expresses the ever-growing need for legal services in the new justice gap study, the opioid crisis, and in recent natural disasters. It also emphasizes the federal role in justice for all, recommends against placing an unfunded mandate for legal services on states and localities, and notes the complementary role legal services plays for the Congressional offices’ constituent services representatives. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of the Library of Congress’s FY2019 Budget Request

On May 23, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee in support of the Library of Congress’s FY2019 budget request. Read more...

Workshop Report on "The U.S. Military Commissions: Looking Forward"

On May 22, the ABA sent letters to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees regarding the Standing Committee on Law and National Security and George Washington University School of Law workshop report titled "The U.S. Military Commissions: Looking Forward." The workshop focused on: an overview of the military commissions at Guantanamo; legal questions related to existing detainees not charged before the commissions; legal issues that could arise if new detainees were brought to Guantanamo; and the implications for the commissions posed by a new authorization to use military force. The result was a nonpartisan report on possible paths forward in the interest of U.S. national security, law, and justice. Find the House letter here and the Senate letter here.

ABA Letter to Louisiana Governor Opposing HB699

On May 11, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to Governor John Edwards of Louisiana opposing HB699. The bill would effectively remove jury polling results in criminal cases from timely public access. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Exemption from Medicaid Work Requirement Rules

On May 4, the ABA sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Administrator Seema Verma regarding exemption of American Indians and Alaska Natives from Medicaid work requirement rules. The Department has failed to approve these exemptions, which threatens the health of U.S. citizens and ignores the federal trust relationship between the federal government and tribal nations. Read more...

ABA Letters to Maryland Counties in Support of Funding for Legal Representation

On May 1, the ABA sent letters to the Montgomery County Council and Prince George’s County Council to support funding for programs that provide legal representation for detained immigrants who are in removal proceedings. Read the Montgomery letter here and the Prince George's letter here.

April 2018

ABA Testifies in Support of LSC Funding

On April 27, 2018, ABA President Hilarie Bass submitted testimony to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies in support of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The testimony expresses the ever-growing need for legal services in the new justice gap study, the opioid crisis, and in recent natural disasters. It also emphasizes the federal role in justice for all, recommends against placing an unfunded mandate for legal services on states and localities, and notes the complementary role legal services plays for the Congressional offices’ constituent services representatives.  Read more...

ABA Letter on Expanding the Public Availability of Military Commission Proceedings

On April 23, the ABA sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accounatbility Office, Defense Capabilities and Management section regarding expanding the public availability of military commission proceedings. The ABA would support adoption of such an initiative in the future to protect the integrity of the military commission process and better educate the public about these proceedings. Read more...

ABA Testifies on "Strengthening and Reforming America's Immigration Court System"

On April 18, ABA President Hilarie Bass testified before the Border Security and Immigration Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the subject of “Strengthening and Reforming America’s Immigration Court System.” Please find the full statement here.

ABA Letter in Support of Marrakesh Treaty

On April 17, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees expressing its support for prompt ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. The letter also urges Congress to pass the “Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act.” Read more...

ABA Comment Letter on Proposed Delay of AFCARS Final Rule

On April 16, the ABA sent a comment letter to the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Final Rule. The ABA reiterated its support for the Final Rule and expressed its concerns about the proposed two-year implementation delay. Read more...

March 2018

ABA Letter in Support of the Library of Congress’s FY2019 Budget Request

On March 30, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee in support of the Library of Congress’s FY2019 budget request. Read more...

ABA Supports H.R. 5082, the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act

On March 19, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the leaders of the House Financial Services Committee and the House Judiciary Committee urging them to support prompt passage of H.R. 5082, the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act of 2018. The legislation would restore traditional state court regulation and oversight of the legal profession by exempting creditor lawyers engaged in litigation activities from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s regulatory jurisdiction under the Dodd-Frank Act. Read more...

ABA Supports Preserving Access to Justice Mission at Department of Justice

On March 12, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in support of preserving the mission of the Office for Access to Justice.  The ABA urges the Department of Justice to continue to prioritize access to justice under the law for all Americans. Read more...

ABA Letter Supporting Legislative Steps to Reduce Gun Violence

On March 7, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging committee members to take swift, evidence-informed steps to curb the scourge of gun violence. The letter also offered several proposals based on ABA policy. Read more...

February 2018

ABA Letter in Support of Maryland House Bill 1520 and Senate Bill 766

On February 28, the ABA sent a letter to the Maryland House and Senate supporting House Bill 1520 and Senate Bill 766, regarding a Pretrail Release Services Program that addresses Victim Notification. The bills would provide victims with notice of any crime charges and, if the defendant is released, with notice of the conditions of the release; how to report any potential violations of those conditions; and how to request modification of the conditions. Read the House letter here and the Senate letter here.

ABA Letter in Support of H.R. 4461 and S. 2172, the COURTS Act

On February 27, the ABA sent a letter to Senate and House leaders urging them to reauthorize the Court Improvement Program (CIP) through the COURTS Act. CIP is a critical bipartisan initiative that improves legal processes in the child welfare system and provides the only direct federal funds to child welfare courts throughout the country. Read more...

ABA Letter on Higher Education

On February 23, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate Housing, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee regarding various ABA positions on higher education policy. The letter emphasized support for programs that assist law school graduates to afford the cost of a law school education, as well as programs that allow these graduates to enter public service employment despite high debt. Read more...

ABA Supports S. 2227, the EMPOWER Care Act

On February 21, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee in support of S. 2227, the EMPOWER Care Act. The Act would extend the "Money Follows the Person" re-balancing demonstration through 2022, which helps provide the necessary support to move seniors and persons with disabilities back into the community and out of more expensive institutional settings. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of California Senate Bill 766

On February 7, the ABA sent a letter to California State Senator William Monning expressing the ABA's support for Senate Bill 766, to authorize out-of-state and foreign attorneys to represent parties in international commercial arbitrations held in California. The ABA has long supported efforts to allow lawyers to effectively serve their clients, at home and abroad, through cross-border practice. Read more...

ABA Opposes S. 1454, the "True Incorporation Transparency for Law Enforcement (TITLE) Act,” Supports Other Means to Fight Money Laundering

On February 1, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing concerns over key provisions in S. 1454, the “True Incorporation Transparency for Law Enforcement (TITLE) Act,” and other similar legislation that would undermine the attorney-client privilege and impose burdensome and intrusive regulations on millions of small businesses, their lawyers and other agents, and the states. The letter also outlined other more effective actions the ABA and others are taking to fight money laundering in ways that avoid the negative consequences of the legislation. Read more...

January 2018

ABA Urges Congress to Support Adequate IRS Funding for FY 2018

On January 16, the ABA sent a letter to key House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders urging them to support adequate funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for FY 2018 and subsequent years. In addition, the letter urges Congress to work with the administration to identify, nominate, and promptly confirm qualified individuals for the positions of IRS Commissioner and Chief Counsel. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of S. 1917, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

On January 9, 2018, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of S. 1917, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017. The ABA strongly commends both leaders for their bipartisan negotiations on complex sentencing and corrections issues that are desperately needed, and urges members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to promptly approve the bill without weakening amendments. Read more...

December 2017

ABA Letter in Support of H.R. 4461 and S. 2172, the COURTS Act

On December 20, the ABA sent a letter to Senate and House leaders urging them to reauthorize the Court Improvement Program (CIP) through the COURTS Act. CIP is a critical bipartisan initiative that improves legal processes in the child welfare system and provides the only direct federal funds to child welfare courts throughout the country. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization

On December 18, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate and House leaders reaffirming support for reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Read more...

ABA Urges Conferees for H.R. 1 to Apply Pass-Through Tax Reductions to Professional Service Businesses

On December 13, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the House and Senate conferees for H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” urging them include in the final legislation the Senate’s version of pass-through business tax relief. The ABA’s letter also urged the conferees to apply the tax relief to all pass-through entities—including law firms and all other types of professional service businesses—on an equal, non-discriminatory basis. Read more…

ABA Letter in Support of Essential Funding for Democracy, Rights, and Governance Programming in FY18 Appropriations

On December 7, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to keep essential funding for democracy, rights, and governance programming in the FY2018 Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related programs bill and the supplemental appropriations request. Read more...

ABA Letter to Russian Deputy Minister of Justice Regarding Liberalized Legal Services Markets

On December 5, the ABA sent a letter to Russian Deputy Minister Denis Novak urging him to take various issues into account as he considers any revisions to the rules enabling foreign law firms to practice in Russia. The ABA has long supported liberalized legal services markets, both in the United States and abroad, as a means to enhance the ability of lawyers and law firms to serve their clients effectively through cross-border practice. Read more...

November 2017

ABA Letter to Attorney General Sessions Urging Diversity in U.S. Attorney Candidates

On November 30, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to urge Senators to take diversity into consideration when proposing candidates to President Trump for nomination to become U.S. attorneys. By taking an active role in the process, Attorney General Sessions would help ensure that the cadre of U.S. Attorneys appointed in this administration is more reflective of the legal profession. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Student Loan Interest Tax Deduction

On November 28, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means as well as the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee supporting the student loan interest tax deduction. The letter urged that the deduction be retained in the final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Read more...

ABA Opposes Legislation Imposing Beneficial Ownership Reporting Requirements on Small Businesses and Their Lawyers

On November 27, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the leaders of the House Financial Services Committee expressing concerns over provisions in the draft “Counter Terrorism and Illicit Finance Act” that would require small companies and many of their lawyers to submit extensive information about the companies’ “beneficial owners” to the Treasury Department and that would require the Department to disclose the information to many other federal and foreign governmental agencies and financial institutions upon request. The ABA’s letter opposing the burdensome legislation was submitted for the record of a joint subcommittee hearing on “Legislative Proposals to Counter Terrorism and Illicit Finance” scheduled for November 29. Read more...

ABA Letter Regarding Minnesota Supreme Court Proposed Amendments to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure

On November 17, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Minnesota Supreme Court regarding comments on proposed amendments to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure. Currently, 22 states have rules or legislation for unclaimed, undistributed funds in state class-action lawsuits (cy pres) to be donated to legal services organizations. This letter supports the petition filed by the Minnesota State Bar Association urging Minnesota to adopt such a rule. In August of 2016, the ABA House of Delegates adopted Resolution 104 urging states, localities, territories, and tribes to adopt court rules or legislation authorizing the award of class action residual funds to non-profit organizations that improve access to civil justice for persons living in poverty. Read more...

ABA Supports H.R. 1849, the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act

On November 16, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the leaders of the House Financial Services Committee and the House Judiciary Committee urging them to support prompt passage of H.R. 1849, the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act of 2017. The legislation would restore traditional state court regulation and oversight of the legal profession by exempting creditor lawyers engaged in litigation activities from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s regulatory jurisdiction under the Dodd-Frank Act. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Congressional Action on DACA

On November 1, 2017, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to leadership in both the House and Senate urging congressional action to address the plight of the young persons impacted by the Administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Read more...

October 2017

ABA Letter in Support of Clemency Consideration for Jack Greene

On October 25, 2017, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to Honorable Asa Hutchinson, Governor of Arkansas, in support of clemency consideration for mentally-ill death-row inmate Jack Greene. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of H.R. 1795

On October 25, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Judiciary Committee, House Financial Services Committee, and House Energy and Commerce Committee in support of H.R. 1795, the DUE PROCESS Act of 2017. The ABA commends Representative Sensenbrenner for leading a bipartisan effort to address due process concerns in civil asset forfeiture cases. H.R. 1795 takes several important steps to improve current procedures including specific notice requirements, representation rights, and burden-of-proof standards, and the ABA urges these committees to move the bill forward. Read More...

ABA Letter in Support of H.R. 2899

On October 18, 2017, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee expressing the ABA's support of H.R. 2899, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2017. The ABA believes that reauthorization of this Act is essential to continuing the evidence-based and cost-effective support for programs that have improved reentry from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities, reduced recidivism, and increased public safety. Read more...

September 2017

ABA Letter in Opposition to Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Healthcare Reform

On September 25, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee expressing its opposition to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal. The letter specifically expressed concerns regarding what the proposal would do to Medicaid, opposing structural or financial changes in the Medicaid program that would weaken the current entitlement nature of the program or the shared legal obligation that the federal and state governments have to provide comprehensive benefits to all individuals who meet eligibility criteria. Read more...

ABA Letter Urging State Department to Continue to Prioritize Promotion of Democracy, Human Rights, Justice, and Rule of Law

On September 14, 2017, ABA President Hilarie Bass sent a letter to Secretary of State Tillerson urging the State Department to continue to prioritize the promotion of democracy, human rights, justice, and the rule of law in its diplomacy and development assistance. The letter also thanks the Secretary for his recent decision to maintain the role of the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice and urges sustained support for this mandate and others aimed at advancing human rights and the rule of law through the work of the Department. Read more...

ABA Letters in Support of H.R. 1809 and S. 860

On September 5, 2017, President Bass sent letters to the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding H.R. 1809, the "Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017" and S. 860, the "Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2017." The ABA strongly supports JJDPA, which has provided states and localities with federal standards and support for improving juvenile justice and delinquency prevention practices and contributed to safeguards for youth, families, and communities for more than 40 years. Read the House letter here and the Senate letter here.

August 2017

ABA Submits Comments on Final Rule for the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System

On August 29, 2017, the ABA submitted comments to the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the Final Rule for the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS). Read more...

ABA Letters in Support of H.R. 1437 and S. 1593

On August 25, 2017, the ABA sent letters to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees supporting H.R. 1437, "No Money Bail Act of 2017" and S. 1593, "Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017." The ABA supports efforts to replace the use of payment of money bail as a condition of pretrial release in criminal cases, and urges the Committees' support for these two bills. Read the House letter here and the Senate letter here.

ABA Opposes Restructuring the 9th Circuit

Patricia Lee Refo submitted a statement on behalf of the ABA to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law for its August 24 field hearing in Phoenix, AZ, titled "Rebooting the Ninth Circuit: Why Technology Cannot Solve its Problems." Contrary to the hearing title, the ABA believes that technological and procedural innovations have enabled the Ninth Circuit to handle caseloads efficiently and maintain a coherent and consistent body of law. Furthermore, the ABA adopted policy last month reaffirming its opposition to restructuring the Ninth Circuit. Read more...

ABA Letter in Opposition to DHHS CMS Proposed Rule

On August 7, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in opposition of their proposed rule. The ABA opposes the use of binding forms of alternative dispute resolution involving residents in disputes with long-term care facilities unless the parties agree to do so voluntarily and knowingly after a dispute arises. Read more...

ABA Supports Proposed Rescission of 2016 Changes to DOL “Persuader Rule”

On August 4, the ABA submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Labor supporting its proposal to rescind the 2016 changes to the “Persuader Rule.” In the letter, the ABA reiterated its opposition to the 2016 rule, which requires many labor lawyers and law firms representing employers to report confidential client information to the government. Read more...

July 2017

ABA Letter on Affordable Care Act Repeal

On July 24 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate expressing concerns about pending legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the letter, the ABA urges the Senate to maintain strong support for Medicaid and oppose structural or financial changes in the Medicaid program that would weaken the current entitlement nature of the program or the shared legal obligation that the federal and state governments have to provide comprehensive benefits to all individuals who meet eligibility criteria.  Read more...

ABA Letter Thanking Chairman Culberson for Comments on LSC During Full Committee Markup on CJS FY2018

On July 20, 2017, ABA President Linda Klein sent a letter to the Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee in the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. In the letter, President Klein thanked Chairman Culberson for his comments at the full committee markup about the importance of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and its work and funding. Read more...

June 2017

ABA Letter Expressing Concerns Regarding the Case of Virginia Death-Row Inmate William Morva

On June 28, 2017, ABA President Linda Klein sent a letter to the Honorable Terence R. McAuliffe, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, expressing concerns regarding the case of Virginia death-row inmate William Morva, who is scheduled to be executed on July 6 and whose petition for executive clemency is now before the Governor’s Office. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of the Library of Congress’s FY2018 Budget Request

On June 19, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch of the Senate Committee on Appropriations in support of the Library of Congress’s FY2018 budget request. Read more...

ABA Opposes H.R. 495, the Protection of Children Act of 2017

On June 14, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee expressing its opposition to H.R. 495, the Protection of Children Act of 2017. Read more...

ABA Supports H.R. 584 the Cyber Preparedness Act of 2017

On June 13, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Members urging them to support H.R. 584, the Cyber Preparedness Act of 2017. Read more...

ABA Opposes H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017

On June 12, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to all House Members urging them to oppose H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017. Read more...

May 2017

ABA Letter in Support of the Patient Choice and Quality Care Act of 2017

On May 31, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to Senators Isakson and Warner and Representatives Roe and Blumenauer commending them for their bipartisan leadership on legislation giving patients and health care providers clearer directives for quality care. Read More..

ABA Letter Urging Passage of H.R. 2266

On May 16, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging passage of H.R. 2266, legislation that would convert 14 existing temporary bankruptcy judgeships to permanent status and authorize four new permanent bankruptcy judgeships. Read more...

ABA Testifies in Support of LSC Funding

On May 12, 2017, ABA President Linda Klein submitted the attached testimony to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies in support of funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The testimony emphasizes the federal role in justice for all, recommends against placing an unfunded mandate for legal services on states and localities, and notes the complementary role legal services plays for the Congressional offices’ constituent services representatives. Read more...

ABA Letter in Support of Action on H.R. 2266

On May 9, 2017 the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee commending the Committee's swift action on H.R. 2266, ABA-supported legislation that would convert 14 existing temporary bankruptcy judgeships to permanent status and authorize four additional permanent judgeships in districts where there are too few judges to handle the persistently high number of bankruptcy filings. Read more...

ABA Urges DHS to Preserve Attorney-Client Privilege and Client Confidentiality During Border Searches of Lawyers’ Electronic Devices

On May 5, 2017, ABA President Linda Klein sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expressing concerns over standards that permit U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to search and review the content of lawyers’ laptop computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices at U.S. border crossings without any showing of reasonable suspicion. The ABA also asked DHS to modify and clarify the relevant CBP and ICE policies to state that when a lawyer is traveling across the border with an electronic device containing privileged or confidential electronic documents, those documents cannot be read, duplicated, seized or shared - unless the officer first obtains a subpoena based on reasonable suspicion or a warrant supported by probable cause. Read more…

ABA Letter in Support of the Library of Congress’s FY2018 Budget Request

On May 3, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch of the House Committee on Appropriations in support of the Library of Congress’s FY2018 budget request. Read more...

April 2017

ABA Testifies in Support of LSC Funding

In support of Legal Services Corporation funding, ABA President Linda Klein submitted the attached testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, emphasizing the federal role in justice for all, recommending against placing an unfunded mandate for legal services on states and localities, and noting the complementary role legal services plays for the Congressional offices’ constituent services representatives. Read more...

ABA Reiterates Opposition to Harmful Tax Proposals Affecting Law Firms

On April 21, ABA President Linda Klein sent letters to the leaders of the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee urging them to oppose proposals that would require many law firms and other personal service businesses to switch from the simple cash method of accounting to the more complex and costly accrual method. If enacted, the proposals would cause substantial financial hardship to many lawyers, law firms, and other personal service businesses by forcing them to pay tax on income long before it is actually received. Read the House committee letter here. Read the Senate committee letter here.

ABA President Expresses Concern About Arkansas Execution Schedule

On April 11, 2017, ABA President Linda Klein sent a letter to the Governor of Alabama, Asa Hutchinson, expressing concern that the upcoming Arkansas execution schedule could potentially undermine due process and impede adequate legal representation in the individual cases. Read more....

March 2017

ABA President Response Letter Regarding AMA Resolution on Attorney Advertising

On March 23, 2017, ABA President Linda Klein sent a response to the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee regarding an American Medical Association resolution on attorney advertising. Read more…

ABA Testifies on the Nomination of the Honorable Neil M. Gorsuch to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

On March 23, 2017, the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary will be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning the nomination of the Honorable Neil M. Gorsuch to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Read more...

ABA Supports the Maryland Fair Access to Education Act of 2017

On March 22, 2017, the ABA sent letters to the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Maryland House Appropriations and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committees regarding the Fair Access to Education Act (S.B. 543, H.B. 694). The ABA expressed its strong support for efforts to prohibit state-funded institutions of higher education from considering a person’s criminal history during the admissions process except in specific circumstances. Read the Senate letter here. Read the House letter here.

ABA Letter in Support of Educational Needs for Foster Youth

On March 17, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce urging the Committee to retain mechanisms for students to report their status as homeless or in foster care to ensure they are considered “independent” for purposes of financial aid calculations. Read more...

ABA Opposes Current Legislative Efforts to Restructure the Ninth Judicial Circuit

The ABA submitted written testimony to the House Judiciary Committee for hearing on March 16, 2017 opposing current legislative efforts to restructure the Ninth Judicial Circuit. Read more...

ABA Opposes H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017

On March 7, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the House opposing H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017. Read more...

ABA Opposes H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017

On March 6, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the House opposing H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017. Read more...

ABA Testifies in Support of South Carolina House Bill 3538, the Persons with Disabilities Right to Parent Act

On March 2, 2017, the ABA testified before the South Carolina House of Representatives Subcommittee on General Laws in support of H. 3538. The Persons with Disabilities Right to Parent Act would safeguard the right of people with disabilities to parent and have custody of, or visitation with, a child by prohibiting discrimination solely on the basis of disability. Read more...

ABA Supports S. 178, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act

On March 1, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing the ABA’s support of S. 178, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act. Read more…

February 2017

ABA Opposes H.R. 1215,  the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017

On February 27, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee expressing the ABA’s opposition to H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017. Read more

ABA Urges Governor Cuomo to Support Independent Oversight of New York’s Public Defense System

On February 24, 2017, ABA President Linda Klein sent a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging the development of a bill in which the state both guarantees independent oversight and funds basic expenses and quality improvements for local public defense programs. Read more…

ABA Opposes H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017

On February 14, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee opposing H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017 because it would circumvent the Rules Enabling Act and unduly limit utilization of class actions to resolve disputes. Read more...

ABA Testifies on Death Penalty for Defendants with Mental Illness

On February 13, 2017, the ABA submitted the written testimony of Richard L. Travis for a hearing on House Bill 1099 before the House State Affairs Committee of the South Dakota Legislature. H.B. 1099 would prohibit the death penalty from being imposed upon a defendant with a severe mental illness. Read more...

ABA Opposes H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017

On February 1, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee expressing the ABA’s opposition to H.R. 720, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2017. Read more…

January 2017

ABA Recommends Changes to Rule 47(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

On January 31, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules recommending that Fed. R. Civ. P. 47(a) be amended to require that the parties at trial or their counsel be allowed the opportunity to question prospective jurors directly during the voir dire process under the supervision of the court and subject to reasonable time limits. Read more…

ABA Testifies on Death Penalty for Mentally Ill Defendants

On January 30, 2017, W. Lawrence Fitch testified on behalf of the ABA before the Criminal Law Subcommittee of the Virginia General Assembly on House Bill 1522, which would provide that a defendant in a capital case who has a several mental illness is not eligible for the death penalty. Read more...

ABA Applauds Legislative Efforts to Support Indigent Defense

On January 26, 2017, the ABA sent a letter to Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) applauding the Senator for his support of public defenders and the plight of the indigent accused. The ABA also expressed its support for the goals of two bills introduced by Senator Booker, the Equal Justice Under Law and Clarence Gideon Full Access to Justice Acts. Read more…

November 2016

FDIC Final Deposit Insurance Recordkeeping Rule for Large Banks Protects Confidentiality of Law Firm Clients

On November 15, 2016, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued its final rule on Recordkeeping for Timely Deposit Insurance Determination that includes ABA-proposed language designed to protect client confidentiality. The final rule clarifies that while law firms must continue to maintain complete and detailed records regarding their IOLTA and other client trust accounts held at large banks, confidential client information regarding those accounts need not be disclosed to the financial institution or the FDIC unless and until the institution fails. Read the ABA comment letter here. Read the final FDIC rule here.

ABA Urges Maryland’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure to Amend Pretrial Release Rule

On November 15, 2016, ABA President Linda Klein sent a letter to the Chair of Maryland’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, urging the Committee to amend Rule 4-216 so that Maryland’s pretrial procedures comply with the U.S. and Maryland Constitutions, as well as ABA standards. Read more…

October 2016

ABA Urges CFPB to Protect the Attorney-Client Privilege in New Rules Governing Disclosure of Confidential Information

On October 24, 2016, ABA President Linda Klein submitted a comment letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau urging it to modify its proposed rule on Disclosure of Records and Information to clarify that the Bureau cannot share privileged information it receives from supervised or regulated entities with any other foreign, state, or other non-federal government agency, as such sharing could threaten the privileged status of the information. Read more…

ABA Business Law Section Opposes CFPB Proposal to Prohibit Entities from Disclosing Confidential Investigative Information

On October 24, 2016, the ABA Business Law Section submitted a comment letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opposing provisions in the Bureau’s proposed Amendments Relating to Disclosure of Records and Information that would prohibit private persons in possession of confidential investigative information from disclosing the information without obtaining the prior approval of the Bureau. In its comment letter, the Section expressed concerns that the proposal was inconsistent with the First Amendment. Read more…

ABA Expresses Support for the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act

On October 5, 2016, the ABA sent a letter to Senators Gillibrand and Portman, and Representatives Wagner, Gabbard, and Jolly, thanking them for their leadership in introducing the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act (S. 3441, H.R. 6292). This legislation would permit a victim of trafficking to move to vacate convictions and expunge arrests for nonviolent crimes committed by the victim as a direct result of human trafficking. Read more...

September 2016

ABA Expresses Concern Over Proposal to Authorize the Appointment of Term-Limited Administrative Law Judges

On September 23, 2016, the ABA sent a letter to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget expressing concern over a proposal prepared by OPM that would authorize the appointment of term-limited administrative law judges. Read more…

ABA Expresses Support for the Homeless Veterans Legal Services Act

On September 21, 2016, ABA President Linda Klein sent a letter to Representative Joyce Beatty thanking her for her introduction of H.R. 6046, the Homeless Veterans Legal Services Act. This bipartisan legislation would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to enter into partnerships to deliver desperately needed legal services for homeless veterans. Read more...

Urges Support for S. 3270, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act

On September 14, 2016, the ABA sent a letter to Senators Grassley and Blumenthal expressing its support for S. 3270, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act, and urging the Judiciary Committee to approve this legislation during markup. S. 3270 would create a federal infrastructure and support for efforts to better understand, prevent, and combat elder abuse. Read more…

ABA Taxation Section Testifies on IRS Audits of Small Businesses

On September 14, 2016, Jennifer Breen of the ABA Section of Taxation testified before the House Small Business Committee on the subject of IRS audits of small businesses. During the hearing, Ms. Breen also reiterated the ABA’s previous support for adequate IRS funding to enable the agency to both provide taxpayer service and collect taxes properly due.  Read the Section’s hearing statement hereRead the previous ABA funding letter here.

ABA Urges Action on Judicial Nominees

On September 6, 2016, ABA President Linda Klein sent a letter to Senate leaders urging them to promptly schedule floor votes on the 20 district court nominees pending on the Senate calendar. These nominees, who were reported to the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, already have waited months for an up-or-down confirmation vote. Read more…

August 2016

ABA Urges Governor of New York to Sign Public Defense Funding Legislation

On August 5, ABA President Paulette Brown sent a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging the Governor to sign Bill A.10706, which will guarantee state funding for New York public defense. Read more...

ABA Supports Regulatory Reforms in H.R. 712, the “ALERT Act of 2016,” Touts New ABA Resolution 106B

On August 1, 2016, the ABA sent a letter to Senate leaders expressing support for key regulatory reform provisions in Title II of H.R. 712, known as the “All Economic Regulations Are Transparent Act” (ALERT Act), which are consistent with newly adopted ABA Resolution 106B. Read more...

ABA Comments on Foster Care Provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act

On August 1, the ABA submitted comments to the Department of Education regarding the Department’s proposed transportation, data and reporting, and supportive services regulations related to foster care. The ABA believes the foster care-related provisions will support effective implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Read more...

July 2016

ABA Urges Senate Leadership to Oppose the Stop Illegal Reentry Act

On July 6, the ABA sent a letter to Senate leadership opposing S. 2193, the Stop Illegal Reentry Act and expressing concerns about the impacts of the bill on immigrants, law enforcement, and the federal justice system. Read more...

June 2016

ABA Commends Introduction of Personalize your Care 2.0

On June 29, the ABA sent a letter to Representatives Blumenauer and Roe for their bipartisan leadership in introducing the Personalize Your Care Act 2.0. Read more…

ABA Urges FDIC to Protect Client Confidentiality in New Deposit Insurance Recordkeeping Rule for Large Banks

On June 24, ABA President Paulette Brown submitted a comment letter to the FDIC urging it to include language in its final rule on Recordkeeping for Timely Deposit Insurance Determination clarifying that while law firms must continue to maintain complete and detailed records regarding their client trust accounts held at large banks, confidential client information regarding those accounts need not be disclosed to the financial institution or the FDIC unless and until the institution fails. Read more…

ABA Supports the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016

On June 20, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee and to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee’s  Human Resources Subcommittee in support of  H.R. 5456, the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016. Read more…  

ABA Supports S. Res. 373, recognizing the historical significance of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II

On June 17, ABA President Paulette Brown sent a letter to Senator Mazie Hirono expressing the ABA’s support for the resolution she introduced, S. Res. 373, which recognizes the historical significance of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and expresses the sense of the Senate that policies that discriminate against an individual based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion would be a repetition of past mistakes. Read more…

ABA Commends Hearing on Role of the Administrative Law Judges and Due Process Hearings

On June 1, the ABA commended the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management for holding a hearing to examine due process in administrative hearings. The letter gave recommendations to improve the quality of decision-making; increase fairness and efficiency for claimants; help alleviate the backload of cases; encourage clarity in communications with claimants; promote procedural due process protections; and seek the application of appropriate, consistent legal standards at all stages of the adjudication process. Read more…

May 2016

ABA Comments on Foster Care Provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act

On May 25, the ABA submitted comments to the Department of Education regarding needed guidance to promote effective implementation of the foster care provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Read more...

ABA Supports H.R. 5283, the Due Process Act

On May 24, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary expressing support for H.R. 5283, the “Deterring Undue Enforcement by Protecting Rights of Citizens from Excessive Seizures Act” or “Due Process Act,” and urging members of the Committee to promptly approve the bill. Read more...

ABA Opposes H.R. 4450, the “Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act,” Supports Other Means to Fight Money Laundering

On May 24, ABA President Paulette Brown sent a letter to a key House Financial Services Committee task force expressing concerns regarding H.R. 4450, the “Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act,” and other similar legislation that would subject many lawyers to the anti-money laundering and suspicious activity reporting requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act and therefore undermine the attorney-client privilege, the confidential lawyer-client relationship, and state court regulation of the legal profession. The letter also outlined other more effective actions the ABA is taking to fight money laundering in ways that avoid the negative consequences of the legislation. Read more…

ABA Commends Senators for Work on Advance Care Planning Legislation       

On May 18, the ABA sent a letter to Senators Blumenthal and Capito commending them for their work on pending legislation known as the “Compassionate Care Act,” which would strengthen the health care planning of thousands of Americans by enhancing public and professional education in advance care planning and implementing studies on the feasibility of a national uniform policy on advance directives, including a national registry. Read more…

FinCEN Final Customer Due Diligence Rule Includes Language Protecting Confidentiality of Law Firm Clients

On May 11, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued its final rule on Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions that includes ABA-proposed language designed to protect client confidentiality. The final rule clarifies that when law firms open escrow or client trust accounts on behalf of their clients, the law firms will only have to disclose their own beneficial ownership, not the identity or beneficial ownership of their clients for whom the accounts were established. Read more...

ABA Comments on Child Welfare Services and Other Programs under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act

On May 12, the ABA submitted comments regarding steps to strengthen programs, including the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) programs, under Title IV-B, Subparts 1 and 2, of the Social Security Act. Read more…

ABA Statement on the Criminal Justice Act

On May 11, ABA President Paulette Brown submitted a written statement regarding the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) to the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act. In the statement, President Brown emphasized that while the CJA has created a system to better serve our country’s indigent defendants, and to compensate attorneys who offer their services to indigent clients, there is still work to be done to create a more fair and effective system for all. Ensuring the independence of the public defense function, parity of resources for prosecutors and defenders, and adequate training for defense counsel are critical in the shaping of a more effective system. Read more...

ABA Letters on Proposed Uniform Code of Military Justice Reforms

On May 5, ABA President Paulette Brown wrote to the leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees regarding proposed reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). While the vast majority of the recommended changes represent a positive step forward for the military justice system, the ABA expressed concern that some of the recommended reforms involving sentencing and appellate rights could cause unintended consequences, including infringing on the rights of servicemembers accused of crimes in the military. Read the Senate letter hereRead the House letter here.

April 2016

ABA Submits Statement to Congress Opposing DOL Final "Persuader Rule”

On April 27, ABA President Paulette Brown submitted a written statement to a key House Education and the Workforce subcommittee for its hearing on the U.S. Department of Labor’s new rule that substantially narrows the “advice exemption” to the current “persuader activities” reporting rule. In the statement, President Brown reiterated the ABA's strong opposition to the Department’s new rule, which will require many labor lawyers and law firms representing employers to report confidential client information to the government. Read more...

ABA Reiterates Opposition to Harmful Tax Proposals Affecting Law Firms

On April 26, ABA President Paulette Brown sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee regarding the Committee’s hearing on “Navigating Business Tax Reform,” urging them to oppose proposals that would require many law firms and other personal service businesses to switch from the simple cash method of accounting to the more complex and costly accrual method. If enacted, the proposals would cause substantial financial hardship to many lawyers, law firms, and other personal service businesses by forcing them to pay tax on income long before it is actually received. Read the letter to the Senate Finance Committee

On April 13, President Brown also sent letters to the leaders of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy, the full House Ways & Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee urging them to oppose the accrual accounting proposals. Read the House subcommittee letter hereRead the House committee letter hereRead the Senate committee letter here.

ABA Comments on Amendments to Korea’s Foreign Legal Consultant Act

On April 11, the ABA sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Korea regarding the amended Foreign Legal Consultant Act (FLCA) and the subsequent amendments to the Enforcement Decree and Enforcement Rules proclaimed on March 2, 2016 by the Ministry of Justice. Read more...

March 2016

ABA Urges Adequate Funding for Louisiana Public Defense

On March 30, the ABA sent a letter to Governor Edwards of Louisiana urging that the state’s public defense be sufficiently funded so that attorneys may meet their constitutional and ethical obligations. Read more…

ABA Supports Strong Funding for the Legal Services Corporation

On March 23rd and 28th, the ABA submitted written testimony to both the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies in support of strong funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The ABA supports the President’s budget request of $475 million for Fiscal Year 2017. Certainly no decrease is in order. Read the House version hereRead the Senate version here.

ABA Opposes H.R. 4771, the HEALTH Act of 2016

On March 21, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee opposing H.R. 4771, the “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2016.” The letter expressed the ABA’s concerns and other views regarding key provisions in the proposed legislation relating to damages, proportionate liability, and contingent fees. Read more…

ABA Urges Continued Support for Funding for Democracy, Rights, and Governance (DRG) Programming

On March 18, the ABA sent letters to the Senate and House Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs asking for continued support in Fiscal Year 2017 for Democracy, Rights, and Governance (DRG) programming. Such programming is critical to global efforts to combat terrorism, extremism and insecurity and to promote equitable economic development and well-being. Read the Senate letter hereRead the House letter here.

ABA Objects to Extensive Use of Electronic Ankle Monitors as a Condition of Release from Detention for Immigrants Arriving with Children

On March 18, the ABA sent a letter to Secretary Johnson of the Department of Homeland Security strongly objecting to the Department’s extensive use of electronic ankle monitors as a condition of release from detention for Central American parents arriving with their children at the U.S. border. The ABA supports alternatives to detention, but expressed concern that DHS has adopted ankle monitors as a default for the release of recently-arrived families instead of considering other less-restrictive options that would be appropriate in many cases. Read more...

ABA Urges State Bar of California to Adopt Proposed Ethics Rule

On March 15, the ABA sent comments to the State Bar of California expressing support for and strongly encouraging adoption of a proposed amendment to the California State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct. If adopted, the proposed ethics rule will apply to federal prosecutors and will not conflict with their compliance with other disclosure obligations established by law. Read more...

ABA Supports Adoption of Proposed Disclosure Rule

On March 15, the ABA sent a letter to the Advisory Committee on Local Rules for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia expressing support for the proposed rule on disclosure of exculpatory information in criminal cases. Read more...

ABA Urges California Governor to Grant Executive Reprieve for Death-Row Inmate

On March 14, the ABA sent a letter to Governor Brown expressing concerns regarding the case of California death-row inmate Kevin Cooper and requesting that the Governor grant Mr. Cooper an executive reprieve until the investigation necessary to fully evaluate his guilt or innocence is completed.Read more...

ABA Supports Proposed Revision of the Employer Information Report to Include Collection of Pay Data

On March 2, the ABA submitted comments in support of a proposal by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that would require federal contractors and employers with 100 or more employees to collect summary pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity. Read more… 

February 2016

ABA Testifies on Death Penalty Representation under the Criminal Justice Act

On Thursday, February 18, Emily Olson-Gault testified before the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act on the subject of death penalty representation. Read more…

January 2016

ABA Submits Comments on Foster Care Provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act

On January 21, the ABA submitted comments to the Department of Education regarding effective implementation of the foster care provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Read more…

ABA Testifies on Criminal Intent Standards Before Senate Judiciary Committee

On January 20, 2016, Stephen A. Saltzburg testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the subject of the adequacy of criminal intent standards in federal prosecutions.Read more...

ABA Urges Support for H.R. 3406, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act

On January 11, the ABA sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee expressing support for H.R. 3406, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015, and urging members to promptly approve the bill. Read more…

ABA Urges Reestablishment of House Permanent Select Committee on Aging

On January 7, the ABA sent a letter to Speaker Ryan urging the reestablishment of the House Permanent Select Committee on Aging to address the ever-growing issues affecting older adults. Read more…

ABA Opposes H.R. 1927, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015

On January 6, the ABA sent a letter to the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives opposing H.R. 1927, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015. H.R. 1927 would unnecessarily circumvent the Rules Enabling Act, make it more difficult for large numbers of injured parties to efficiently seek redress in court, and would place added burdens on an already overloaded court system. Read more...

December 2015

ABA Opposes Proposed Rule on Donee Substantiation of Charitable Contributions

On December 16, ABA President Paulette Brown submitted comments to the IRS opposing a proposed rule that would create a specific-use information return to be used for reporting by donee organizations. The letter stated that the potential cost of the rule in terms of burden on donees, inhibition of donations, and possibly increased identity theft of donor Social Security numbers far outweighs the potentially slight administrative benefit to the IRS. Read more…

ABA Presents Webinar on Harmful Tax Reform Legislation Affecting Law Firms

On December 14, the ABA Governmental Affairs Office, the Law Practice Division, and the Center for Professional Development presented a webinar entitled “Mandatory Accrual Accounting for Law Firms: Tax Reform or Impending Storm?” Read More…

ABA Opposes Proposals to Delay or Halt Admission of Syrian and Other Refugees

On December 11, 2015, the ABA sent a letter to congressional leadership expressing the ABA’s opposition to legislative proposals that would delay or halt U.S. resettlement of Syrian, Iraqi, or Muslim refugees. Read more…

ABA Commends Efforts to Enhance Advanced Care Planning

On December 9, the ABA sent a letter to Senator Richard Blumenthal commending him for his work on the “Compassionate Care Act of 2015.” The legislation would strengthen the health care planning of thousands of Americans by enhancing public and professional education in advance care planning, providing financial support for programs of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, and implementing studies on the feasibility of a national uniform policy on advance directives. Read more…

ABA Urges Senate Leadership to Schedule Confirmation Votes on 15 Judicial Nominees

On December 2, ABA President Paulette Brown sent a letter to Majority Leader McConnell and Democratic Leader Reid urging them to schedule votes on the confirmation of 15 judicial nominees pending on the Senate floor before the Senate recesses for the year. Read more…

November 2015

ABA Urges House Judiciary Committee to Approve Sentencing Reform Legislation

On November 17, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, urging the Committee to approve H.R. 3713, the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015. Read more…

ABA Urges Support for Federal Sentencing Reform Legislation (S. 2123)

On November 9, the ABA sent a letter to the full Senate urging support for and co-sponsorhip of S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. Read more…

ABA Urges Inclusion of Provisions to Promote Educational Success for Students in Foster Care

On November 5, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce urging that provisions of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, which promote educational stability and success for children in foster care, be included in the final Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization bill. Read more…   

ABA Urges Opposition to Portions of the Helping Families in Mental Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2646)

On November 4, the ABA sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health urging opposition to portions of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 that would prevent Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act (PAIMI) programs from engaging in advocacy and litigation on behalf of individuals with serious mental illness. Read more...

October 2015

ABA Files Comments in Support of FCC Proposal to Regulate Rates for Inmate Calling Services

On October 21, the ABA filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission regarding rates for Inmate Calling Services. Read more...

ABA Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Approve Sentencing Reform Legislation

On October 19, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urging the Committee to approve S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. Read more...

ABA Urges Support for S. 2021, the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act

On October 6, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs urging support for S. 2021, the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act. This bipartisan legislation would require the federal government and federal contractors to postpone requests for criminal history information from job applicants until the applicants have received conditional offers of employment. Read more...

September 2015

ABA Urges HHS to Strengthen Resident Protections in Proposed Nursing Home Rule

On September 30, the ABA submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services urging it to modify its proposed rule establishing new requirements for long-term care facilities. The ABA identified several areas in which the proposed nursing home rule should be strengthened or clarified, including new language supporting residents’ right to vote, encouraging advance care planning, and expressly prohibiting pre-dispute agreements to arbitrate disputes between nursing homes and residents. Read more…

ABA Letter Opposing H.R. 758, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act

On September 17, the ABA sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging opposition to the passage of H.R. 758, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, because it will have the unintended consequence of encouraging litigation abuse and increasing court costs and delays. Read more...

August 2015

ABA Letter Regarding Models of Representation in Child Welfare Cases

On August 27, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman of the Oklahoma House Committee on Appropriations and Budget’s Subcommittee on Human Services commending the Committee’s actions in conducting an interim study on models of representation for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The letter states that the ABA prefers the agency representation model over the prosecutorial model to ensure high quality representation for all parties in child welfare cases. Read more…

ABA Letter Regarding Congressional Action to Strengthen Alaska Native Families

On August 26, the American Bar Association submitted a letter for the record of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs oversight field hearing titled “Strengthening Alaska Native Families: Examining Recidivism, Reentry, and Tribal Courts in Alaska.” The letter expressed the views of the ABA regarding actions that Congress should take to help strengthen Alaska Native families. Read more…

ABA Statement on Development of Eligibility Standards for Assignment of Counsel in New York

On August 26, ABA President Paulette Brown submitted a statement to the NY State Office of Indigent Legal Services applauding their development of eligibility standards for assignment of counsel for mandated representation and discussing ABA policies related to the subject. Read more…

July 2015

ABA Opposes Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Illegal Reentry in S. 1762/H.R. 3011 and S. 1812

On July 30, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees expressing opposition to current proposals before the Senate and House that would create a new five-year mandatory minimum sentence for illegal reentry. Read more...

ABA Letter with Recommendations for Improving Juvenile Justice in Indian Country

On July 27, the ABA submitted a letter for the record of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’ July 15 oversight hearing titled “Juvenile Justice in Indian Country: Challenges and Promising Strategies.” The letter expressed the views of the ABA with regard to recommendations for improving juvenile justice in Indian country. Read more… 

ABA Urges Reassessment of DHS Policy Banning Counsel from Overseas Refugee Interviews

On July 24, the ABA sent a letter to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requesting that the Department of Homeland Security reassess and reverse its present policy banning counsel from overseas refugee interviews. Read more…

ABA Supports the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2015

On July 23, the ABA sent a letter to all members of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee urging them to support S. 1607, the “Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2015.”  The bipartisan bill would affirm the President's authority to issue an executive order requiring independent regulatory agencies to comply with the same regulatory analysis requirements that are currently applicable to executive agencies when adopting new regulations. Read more...

ABA Comments Regarding United States Sentencing Commission’s Proposed Priorities for the Coming Amendment Cycle

On July 22, the ABA submitted comments to the United States Sentencing Commission urging it to add to its proposed tentative priorities for the coming amendment cycle a proposed amendment to expand the commentary in the Guideline regarding the reasons that may be deemed “extraordinary and compelling” to justify a motion for reduction in a term of imprisonment by the Director of the Bureau of Prisons. Read more...

ABA Supports Medicare Secondary Payer and Workers' Compensation Settlement Agreements Act of 2015

On July 20, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance urging the swift passage of the Medicare Secondary Payer and Workers' Compensation Settlement Agreements Act of 2015 (H.R. 2649/S. 1514). This bipartisan legislation would benefit employers, insurers, and injured workers by establishing a predictable and efficient set-aside approval process that offers reasonable protection for injured workers and Medicare. Read more…

ABA Supports S. 1169, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015

On July 20, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in advance of their consideration of S. 1169, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015. The ABA supports S. 1169 which will strengthen and update the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, which has provided states and localities with federal standards and support for improving juvenile justice and delinquency prevention practices and contributed to safeguards for youth, families, and communities for more than 40 years. Read more…

ABA Letter to Attorney General Lynch

On July 15, 2015, ABA President William Hubbard sent a letter to Attorney General Lynch, offering the experience and the expertise of the ABA as the Department of Justice confronts the critical issues facing the nation's justice system. Read more...

June 2015

ABA Supports Legislation to Reform 28 U.S.C. § 1500

On July 2, the ABA sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee expressing strong support for H.R. 2329, the Ensuring Access to Justice for Claims Against the United States Act. H.R. 2329 would reform 28 U.S.C. § 1500 to enable companies, property owners, Indian tribes, and other parties with meritorious claims against the Federal Government to obtain complete relief in the U.S. Courts. Read more…

ABA Letter Requesting Review of Alleged Illegal Interrogations and Clarification of Interpretation of the Convention Against Torture

On June 23, ABA President William Hubbard sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling on the administration to undertake a new, comprehensive review regarding allegations that the U.S. engaged in illegal and inhumane interrogations and urging the administration to provide clarification on its interpretation of the extraterritorial application of the Convention Against Torture. Read more…

ABA Opposes the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015  

On June 23, the ABA sent a letter to Representative Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, opposing H.R. 1927, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015. H.R. 1927 would unnecessarily circumvent the Rules Enabling Act, make it more difficult for large numbers of injured parties to efficiently seek redress in court, and would place added burdens on an already overloaded court system. Read more…

ABA Commends Introduction of the Care Planning Act of 2015 

On June 12, the ABA sent a letter to Senator Mark Warner and Senator Johnny Isakson commending them for the introduction of S. 1549, the Care Planning Act of 2015, along with several other original cosponsors. The Care Planning Act will help ensure that individuals with advanced illness receive the support they need to make informed decisions about their treatment and care. Read more...

ABA Comments on Discussion Draft of Legislation Concerning Amendment of Title IV of the Social Security Act

On June 12, the American Bar Association responded to a request for comments from the Senate Committee on Finance regarding Senator Wyden’s Discussion Draft on Investments in Prevention, legislation concerning the amendment of Title IV of the Social Security Act. The letter commends the Committee’s effort to advance meaningful legislation to address the desirability of allowing children to remain in their homes with their families and recommends amendments to strengthen protections and support for those families in crisis. Read more… 

ABA Commends Introduction of Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015

On June 4, the American Bar Association sent a letter to Senators Rob Portman and Patrick Leahy and Representatives James Sensenbrenner and Danny Davis expressing support for the introduction of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015 and commending them for their leadership in this area. The letter noted that the reauthorization of the 2008 Act is essential to providing continuity for its evidence-based and cost-effective support for programs that improve reentry from prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities and that serve to advance public safety. Read more...

ABA Letter on Further Development and Revision of Patent Reform Legislation

On June 1, 2015, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary thanking them for their work and progress on S. 1137, the “Patent Act,” and urging additional improvements. The letter noted a number of major issues on which S. 1137 shows significant improvements over other legislative proposals to respond to abusive patent enforcement practices by those who acquire and hold patents primarily to extract extortionist settlements and judgments. Read more…

ABA Urges Consideration of Policy During Cybersecurity Debate

On June 1, the ABA sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Reid urging consideration of the ABA’s position on cybersecurity measures while debating the comprehensive cybersecurity legislation passed by the House and pending in the Senate. Read more…

May 2015

ABA Introduces its Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources as a Resource for Congress

On May 18, the ABA sent a letter to Congress introducing the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) and its special committee charged with working with SEER’s subject matter committees to identify issues of interest and concern to lawmakers. The letter notes that SEER’s goal is to make SEER-member subject matter experts, programs, and written resources available as “go-to” reference tools for Members of Congress.  Read more…

ABA Files Comments on Proposed Indian Child Welfare Act Regulations

On May 14, the ABA filed comments to the Bureau of Indian Affairs on proposed Indian Child Welfare Act Regulations regarding state courts and agencies in Indian child custody proceedings. The comments noted that the proposed regulations take an important step toward achieving full implementation of the Act by aiming at clarity and consistency in practice. Read more…

ABA Commends Senate Judiciary Committee for Action on Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel

On May 12, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators Grassley and Leahy, commending them for scheduling a hearing on the Sixth Amendment right to counsel in misdemeanor cases and giving attention to the pressing systemic issue of the denial of misdemeanor representation in the United States. Read more…

April 2015

ABA Urges Opposition to the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act

On April 14, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary urging them to oppose H.R. 758, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2015, which would amend Rule 11 of the FRCP which addresses sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits. The letter expressed the ABA’s opinion that the legislation would have the unintended consequences of increasing civil litigation costs and delays. Read more…

ABA Files Comments on the Proposed Rule Amending the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)

On April 8, the ABA filed comments on the proposed rule amending the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). The comments supported the addition of the proposed education-related data elements to AFCARS and recommend some changes to the proposed rule aimed to enhance the quality of information collected and analyzed. Read more...

ABA Urges Congress to Reject Harmful Tax Proposals Affecting Law Firms

On April 6, ABA President William C. Hubbard sent letters to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee urging them to reject proposals that would require many law firms and other personal service businesses to switch from the simple cash method of accounting to the more complex and costly accrual method. If enacted, the proposals would cause substantial financial hardship to many lawyers, law firms, and other personal service businesses by forcing them to pay tax on income they have not yet received and may never receive.  Read the Senate letter here.  Read the House letter here.

March 2015

ABA Testimony in Support of funding for Legal Services Corporation

On March 27, the ABA submitted testimony for the record to both the House and Senate Commerce Justice Science Appropriations Subcommittees in support of funding for the Legal Services Corporation.  Both subcommittees had requested outside witness testimony on matters for which the appropriators will decide funding.  The ABA supports the President’s budget request of $452 million for Fiscal Year 2016. Read the Senate testimony here. Read the House testimony here.

ABA Letter in Support of Texas Senate Bill 1071 and House Bill 2110

On March 30, ABA President William Hubbard sent a letter to the Chair and Vice-Chair of both the Texas Senate Committee on Criminal Justice and the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence in support of Senate Bill 1071 and House Bill 2110. The bills seek to ensure that the attorneys who represent condemned inmates get meaningful notice when an execution date has been sought or has been set for their clients. Read more…

ABA Letter Expressing Concern about Expansion of Immigration Detention

On March 26, ABA President William Hubbard sent a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Honorable Jeh Johnson, regarding the ABA’s concerns about expansion of immigration detention, including detention of women and children seeking protection as refugees. Read more…

ABA Urges the Exclusion of Nursing and Skilled Nursing Facilities from the “Rule of Construction Regarding Healthcare Providers Standards of Care” in H.R. 1470

On March 25, the ABA wrote a letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, regarding H.R. 1470, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2015. The ABA urged them to exclude nursing and skilled nursing facilities from the “Rule of Construction Regarding Healthcare Providers Standards of Care” currently contained in the bill which would make it more difficult for residents of nursing homes to seek justice through the courts. Read more…

ABA Opposes the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act

On March 23, the ABA submitted a letter for the record of the March 17 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice expressing opposition to the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act. The Act would amend Rule 11 of the FRCP which addresses sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits. Read more…

ABA Opposes Legislation, Like Colorado House Bill 15-1218, that Prevents Defense Teams from Meeting their Duties Under the Sixth Amendment and ABA Standards

On March 16, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Vice Chair of the Colorado House Judiciary Committee in opposition to H.B. 15-1218 because it would interfere with defense counsel’s duty to interview victims and other witnesses and encourage the prosecution to obstruct such interviews. Read more...

ABA Testimony before the United States Sentencing Commission Regarding Economic Crimes

On March 12, the ABA appeared before the United States Sentencing Commission for a hearing on proposed amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines. James Felman, Chair of the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section, presented testimony focused on the ABA's position on the proposed amendments to the guidelines for economic crime. Read more...

ABA Letter to Leaders of Criminal Justice Committees in the Florida State Legislature Regarding the Importance of Jury Unanimity in Death Penalty Sentencing

On March 9, ABA President William Hubbard sent a letter conveying the importance of jury unanimity in death penalty sentencing to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Florida Senate's Committee on Criminal Justice and the Chair and Ranking Member of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee in Florida's House of Representatives. The letter was in response to the Florida State Legislature's consideration of Senate Bill 664 and House Bill 139. Read more...

ABA Urges Fortune 500 Companies to Help Fight Labor Trafficking and Child Labor

On March 3, ABA President William Hubbard sent a letter to the CEOs and general counsels of all U.S. companies in the Fortune 500 encouraging them to adopt and implement their own anti-human trafficking policies that are consistent with the ABA Model Business and Supplier Principles. Read more…

February 2015 

ABA Supports the Ability of the Government to Reallocate Payroll Tax Revenues Between the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund

On February 19, the ABA sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee urging them to support the ability of the government to reallocate payroll tax revenues between the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund and the Disability Insurance trust fund. The letter also expressed the ABA's opposition to a rule passed by the House that would make it more difficult to reallocate funds by setting conditions that would require either new revenues or benefit cuts for beneficiaries. Read more...

Hard Truths: Law Enforcement and Race 

On February 12, FBI Director James Comey delivered a poignant speech about race relations and law enforcement at Georgetown University. Read the full text of the speech

ABA Submits Comments on Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Reauthorization

On February 2, the ABA submitted comments on the draft ESEA bill regarding foster care education provisions. Read more... 

January 2015

ABA Testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

On January 30, the ABA appeared before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for a briefing on “The State of Civil Rights in Immigration Detention.”  Karen T. Grisez, Special Advisor to the Commission on Immigration, presented testimony focused on the ABA’s policies and special projects related to immigration detention. Read more...

ABA Files Comments Urging FCC to Regulate Non-Competitive Inmate Calling Services

On January 26, the ABA filed comments urging the FCC to regulate non-competitive inmate calling services so that prisoners are not subjected to unfair telephone usage rates.  Read more...

ABA Urges Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act

On January 26, the ABA sent a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions expressing support for the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act of 1965. Read more... 

ABA Testimony to the New York City Council on Indigent Defense

On January 26, 2015, ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown testified before the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety and Committee on Courts and Legal Services on indigent defense. Read more...

ABA Submits Comments in Support of Proposed Regulations to Collect Pay Data from Federal Contractors

On January 5, the ABA submitted comments in support of proposed regulations to collect pay data from federal contractors to identify and rectify wage discrimination. Read more...

"What's New in Washington" entries from the 113th Congress

"What's New in Washington" entries from the 112th Congress

"What's New in Washington" entries from the 111th Congress