This Month's Articles

ABA urges State Department to continue to prioritize human rights and the rule of law

ABA President Hilarie Bass urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month to ensure that any reforms made at the State Department “reinforce and strengthen the role that values play in U.S diplomacy and development assistance.” Bass said the ABA appreciates the need for reorganizing the department to bring greater efficiencies and effectiveness to its work, but the association is concerned by reports that the reforms might result in a downgrading of the core American values of democracy, human rights, justice and the rule of law.

President Trump signs Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act to enhance protections

President Trump signed bipartisan legislation Oct. 18 that supports efforts to better understand, prevent and combat elder abuse. P.L. 115-69 (S. 178), the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017, which was passed by the Senate Aug. 1 and cleared for the president by the House Oct. 3, includes goals supported by the ABA to enhance the federal government’s response to elder abuse and financial exploitation of seniors.

ABA president cites success of Second Chance Act

ABA President Hilarie Bass urged the House Judiciary Committee this month to approve H.R. 2899, the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill that would continue federal support for prisoner reentry and recidivism-reduction programs. “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,” Bass wrote in an Oct. 18 letter to committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).

ACA’s future uncertain as president uses executive powers

Frustrated that Congress has been unable to make progress toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Trump addressed health care reform through executive action this month. His first step was an executive order Oct. 12 requiring federal agencies to develop rules to make it easier for small businesses and associations to offer low-cost and short-term limited health insurance plans that would not be subject to current ACA requirements and protections.

Congress, president continue to grapple with future of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program

As Congress weighs options for protecting those participating in the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), President Trump added conditions to his support for any legislation addressing the status of DACA recipients. DACA, established through executive action by President Obama in 2012, has allowed undocumented youth who were brought to the United States as children to stay if they meet certain criteria. Nearly 800,000 individuals have participated in the program, which has allowed them to go to school, work and serve in the military without fear of deportation.

ABA receives National Creditors Bar Association award

The National Creditors Bar Association awarded this year’s Donald Kramer Award to the ABA for “tirelessly working to preserve the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary along with the long-standing tradition of the governance of the practice of law by state supreme courts and the state bar associations.” The award, named after the association’s founder, is presented each year to an individual or group whose efforts “have made a substantial and lasting impact for the benefit of the credit and legal collection industry.”

Washington News Briefs

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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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