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Washington Letter June 2015


Featured Articles

Legislation & Lobbying

Bipartisan efforts seek fair and balanced patent overhaul bill

ABA President William C. Hubbard commended Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) this month for their efforts to develop patent overhaul legislation that represents a “fair and balanced response to the abusive patent enforcement practices by those who acquire and hold patents primarily to extract extortionist settlement and judgments, and not to provide products and services to the public.”

Federal Government

ABA seeks to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The ABA is urging Congress to preserve the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), established in 2007 to forgive federal student loans for individuals who work in a wide range of public service jobs, including jobs in government and nonprofit charitable organizations. The program provides forgiveness of remaining debt after 10 year of eligible employment and qualifying loan payments, and the first group of public service workers will be eligible for forgiveness in 2017.

LGBTQ Legal Issues

ABA sponsors first LGBT Advocacy Day

Participants came from across the country to Washington last month for the first LGBT Advocacy Day sponsored by the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) and coordinated by the association’s Governmental Affairs Office. SOGI leads the ABA’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and full and equal participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in the association, the legal profession and society.

Federal Government

Proposed legislation would help families avoid foster care

The ABA expressed support and offered comments this month on a discussion draft for legislation aimed at helping reduce the prevalence and length of foster care by providing support for families in crisis. In a June 12 letter to Senate Finance Committee Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman commended Wyden and the committee for efforts to advance meaningful legislation to address the desirability of allowing children to remain in their homes with their families.

Federal Government

ABA offers perspective on cybersecurity reform

The ABA offered Senate leaders the ABA’s perspective on comprehensive cybersecurity reform this month and provided five guiding principles for members of Congress to consider as they develop cybersecurity legislation. “The ABA has long recognized that we must make it a priority to prevent unauthorized intrusions into the computer systems and networks utilized by lawyers and law firms, and we recently adopted policy calling upon all private sector organizations to maintain appropriate cybersecurity measures,” ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman wrote June 1 to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).