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December 2017 Issue

  December 2017

This Month's Articles

Personal Taxation

Tax reform package preserves deduction for student loan interest payments

The final version of H.R. 1, tax reform legislation, preserves the student loan interest tax deduction, which was targeted for elimination in the earlier House-passed version of the bill. In a Nov. 28 letter to the leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, the ABA expressed support, based on policy adopted in 1992, for the student loan interest tax deduction and said that law students are directly affected by any changes in the deduction.

Practice Management

ABA opposes beneficial ownership proposals that would impose new burdens on lawyers

ABA President Hilarie Bass expressed the ABA’s concerns last month about key provisions in the draft “Counter Terrorism and Illicit Finance Act” that she said would “impose burdensome and intrusive regulations on millions of small businesses and their lawyers.” In a Nov. 27 letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Bass said that Section 9 of the draft bill would require small corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) and many of their lawyers to submit extensive information about the companies’ “beneficial owners” to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Global Initiatives

ABA urges Congress to support essential funding for democracy, rights and governance programming

ABA President Hilarie Bass urged House and Senate appropriators this month to support continued funding for democracy, rights and governance programming as they finalize fiscal year 2018 appropriations legislation for the State Department, foreign operations and related programs. “The United States has been able to play a critical leadership role in the world because it has, over multiple administrations of both parties, maintained a values-based foreign policy that advances the conditions for a peaceful and prosperous world,” Bass wrote Dec. 7 to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Ranking Member Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) and Ranking Member Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.).

Civil Rights & Constitution

House passes ABA-opposed concealed-carry legislation

Despite opposition from the ABA and others concerned about public safety, the House passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 by a vote of 231-198 on Dec. 6. The bill, H.R. 38, would mandate national reciprocity for concealed-carry permits issued pursuant to state law, an action that would require any state that allows some form of concealed carry of firearms to recognize a concealed-carry permit issued in another state.

Multijurisdictional Practice

ABA provides Russian Ministry of Justice with information about U.S. legal services market

The ABA provided information on the United States’ system of lawyer regulation last month to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, which is considering revisions to rules that enable foreign law firms to practice in Russia. In a Dec. 5 letter to Russian Deputy Minister of Justice Denis Novak, ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman explained that the regulation of lawyers and law firms in the United States is conducted at the state level and that the general regulatory approach for practice authority, professional conduct, and discipline addresses individual domestic and foreign lawyers rather than law firms.

Washington News Briefs

About the Washington Letter

The ABA Washington Letter is a monthly publication produced by the Governmental Affairs Office to report and analyze congressional and executive branch action on legislative issues of interest to the ABA and the legal profession. The newsletter highlights ABA involvement in the federal legislative process and focuses on the association's legislative and governmental priorities and other issues on which the ABA has policy.

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