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Washington Letter October 2015


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Legislation & Lobbying

Senate committee approves Fair Chance Act

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously approved a bipartisan bill Oct. 7 that would ensure that individuals with criminal records have a fair chance for employment with the federal government and federal contractors. S. 2021, the Fair Chance Act of 2015, would require the federal government and federal contractors to postpone requests for criminal history information from job applicants until the applicants have received a conditional offer of employment.

Federal Government

ABA social media campaign to preserve PSLF continues; GAO reports gap in program information

The ABA’s social media lobbying campaign to preserve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program continues to spread the word about the importance of the program, which provides loan forgiveness to those who work in government and the non-profit sector. The ABA campaign is in response to recent proposals to cap or eliminate PSLF, which was established in 2007 to provide forgiveness of remaining federal student loan debt after 10 years of eligible full-time employment in public service and 120 qualifying monthly payments.

Legislation & Lobbying

Senate Democrats announce gun safety principles to renew drive for legislation

In the wake of the Oct. 1 campus shooting in Oregon, Senate Democrats held a special event Oct. 7 to release a set of principles intended to prompt consideration of legislation to end gun violence. The Senate Democrats, who plan to push for legislation during this Congress, are focusing on three key points: closing background check loopholes; making background checks better; and shutting down the illegal pipeline of guns.

Government Benefits

ABA urges greater protection in nursing homes

The ABA urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to modify language in recently proposed comprehensive regulations that would establish new requirements for long-term care facilities to ensure that they protect the rights of residents, improve their quality of care and quality of life, and ensure resident-centered care. In comments submitted Sept. 30 to CMS, ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman wrote that the proposed regulations represent a substantial step forward overall and commended CMS for including provisions that include new definitions of abuse, neglect and exploitation and provisions to enhance oversight in long-term care facilities.

Domestic Relations

New Hampshire Supreme Court rejects change opposed by the ABA affecting legal representation of parents

The New Hampshire Supreme Court voted this month not to adopt a proposed change to Rule 3.11 of the Rules of the Circuit Court of the State of New Hampshire-Family Division that the ABA maintained would have diminished the availability of legal representation to parents in abuse and neglect cases beyond a certain stage of the proceedings. In an Oct. 16 letter to Carolyn Koegler, secretary of the New Hampshire Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules, New Hampshire Supreme Court Clerk Eileen Fox said the court voted not to adopt the proposal after careful consideration of the written and oral comments it received.