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Legislation & Lobbying

ABA urges DHS not to place families in detention

ABA President William C. Hubbard urged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last month to abandon current policies that he said have resulted in unprecedented levels of immigration detention, including a return to the “failed practice of family detention.” Hubbard, in a March 26 letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, pointed out that the ABA for more than two decades has opposed the use of detention except in extraordinary circumstances and that current DHS detention policies fail to meet the ABA’s Civil Immigration Standards.

Cybersecurity

Obama authorizes sanctions to address cyber threats

President Obama declared the threat of malicious cyber-enabled activities a national emergency April 1 and issued an executive order authorizing sanctions on individuals or entities that are responsible for, are compliant in, or engage in such activities originating or directed from abroad. Calling cyber threats one of the most serious economic and national security challenges the United States faces, Obama authorized the secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the attorney general and the secretary of State, to impose sanctions on those whose actions are likely to result in or have contributed to a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States.

Legal Delivery

ABA urges increased appropriation for LSC in fiscal 2016

The ABA recently asked Congress to provide $452 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in fiscal year 2016 – a $77 million increase also requested by the Obama administration to counter the growing need for civil legal assistance for low-income Americans. “Robust funding for LSC is desperately needed because other funding sources have diminished due to the country’s economic downturn, and pro bono efforts, while critical, are insufficient to completely replace federal legal aid funding,” ABA President William C. Hubbard said in statements submitted to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.

Practice Management

ABA reiterates support for cash accounting for law firms

ABA President William C. Hubbard reiterated the ABA’s opposition this month to any tax reform proposals in Congress that would require law firms and other personal service businesses with annual gross receipts over $10 million to switch from the cash method of accounting to the accrual method. In April 6 correspondence to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee in response to the committee’s request for stakeholder input on improving the tax code, and in similar correspondence to the House Ways and Means Committee, Hubbard said the mandatory accrual proposal “would create unnecessary new complexity in the tax law and cause substantial hardship” for many lawyers, law firms and other personal service businesses.