Survey Regarding Legal Needs Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic
In May 2020, the Task Force conducted a survey to help identify current and future legal needs arising from the Coronavirus Pandemic. The survey was conducted from May 8 – May 14, and sent to the Task Force Members and Liaisons, Section Officers Conference, and the Chairs of the Special and Standing Committees and Commissions. The survey results and summary report can be found here.
2020 ABA Annual Meeting: House of Delegates Approved Resolutions Relating to COVID-19 Pandemic
During the 2020 ABA Virtual Annual Meeting, the House of Delegates considered approximately 58 resolutions during August 3-4, 2020. The House of Delegates adopted a total of seven resolutions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic..
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- On December 1, 2020, ABA President Patricia Refo sent a letter to U.S. Senate and House majority and minority leadership, urging immediate passage of a renewed moratorium on housing evictions and much needed economic relief for rental property owners. A letter to the editor from President Refo was published in The Arizona Republic on November 27, 2020, detailing the impact of the expiration of the eviction moratorium on renters.
- On October 28, 2020, ABA President Patricia Refo issued a letter to the presidents of state, local, specialty, and affinity bar associations urging them to (1) mobilize pro bono volunteers among their members to provide legal assistance in eviction cases and (2) join a new ABA COVID-19 Pro Bono Network that will focus initially on the eviction crisis.
- On September 8, 2020, ABA President Patricia Refo sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House committees with oversight authority over FEMA seeking their assistance in activating and implementing the FEMA/ABA YLD Disaster Legal Services program to help meet the legal needs of low-income Americans suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- ABA Commends Senate for Bipartisan Introduction of The Eviction Crisis Act (February 28, 2020)
ABA letter expresses appreciation for the bipartisan introduction of S. 3030, the Eviction Crisis Act, which would provide funding and other support for community problem-solving courts in eviction cases.
- ABA Letter Regarding the Impact of COVID-19 on Associations, Nonprofits, and Other Tax-Exempt Organizations (March 12, 2020)
The ABA urges the House and Senate to include associations, nonprofits, and other tax-exempt organizations within any federal aid packages or supplemental appropriations measures pursued as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- ABA Letter Regarding Legislative Proposals for Paid Family, Medical, and Sick Leave (February 4, 2020)
Letter to the House Ways and Means Committee commended them for holding a hearing on legislative proposals for job-guaranteed paid family and medical leave and asking that they also consider proposals to provide paid sick leave.
- Support of H.R. 6414, the Correctional Facility Emergency Response Act of 2020 (April 7, 2020)
ABA thanked House Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler for introducing H.R. 6414, the COVID-19 Correctional Facility Emergency Response Act of 2020.
- ABA Letter Regarding the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Memorandum (April 10, 2020)
Regarding Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Director’s March 17 Memorandum granting limited waivers from some of the federal contract compliance requirements that would otherwise be applicable to contracts for Coronavirus relief efforts, ABA recognizes that in this time of national emergency, the federal government needs to move quickly to acquire life-saving necessary goods and services. Nonetheless, the ABA has repeatedly, for decades, supported affirmative action, and even in these trying times we urge the Department to remain steadfastly and visibly committed to affirmative action and equal opportunity for minorities, women, the disabled, and veterans.
- ABA Support for H.R. 2868, the Ensuring Quality Access to Legal (EQUAL) Defense Act (February 27, 2020)
The ABA commends senators for their introduction of the Ensuring Quality Access to Legal (EQUAL) Defense Act in each chamber of Congress (S.1377 and H.R. 2868, respectively). The EQUAL Defense Act would help protect the constitutional rights of defendants who are unable to afford a lawyer, increase indigent defense representation in local and tribal public defense systems, and provide needed relief to the men and women providing public defense services every day.
- Statement Re: Provisions for prisons and jails in COVID-19 economic stimulus package (March 27, 2020)
Prisons and jails are some of the highest-risk environments for the spread of COVID-19. The ABA is encouraged that the COVID-19 economic stimulus package approved by Congress includes provisions to allow prisons greater access to personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing materials. The ABA is further encouraged by the bill’s provisions that expand use of home detention and electronic monitoring. The availability of these alternatives to incarceration should be considered particularly for individuals whose cases are still pending. The ABA is disappointed the bill fails to include provisions to increase access to release for older and infirm prisoners, but commends a separate action taken by the Department of Justice which directs federal prison authorities to identify elderly and medically compromised inmates for home confinement. The ABA also applauds state and local prosecutors, courts, law enforcement officers and corrections officers who are seeking practical alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, especially during this national emergency.
Legal Services Corporation
- ABA Urges Congress to Include Supplemental Emergency LSC Funding in Stimulus Bill (March 19, 2020)
ABA letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urged them to act quickly to pass supplemental emergency appropriations for the Legal Services Corporation to help address the increasing legal needs of low-income Americans caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- ABA Requests Additional Emergency LSC Funding to Address Pandemic (April 8, 2020)
ABA thanked leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for including $50 million of emergency funding for the Legal Service Corporation in the CARES Act of 2020, which was 50% of the $100 million that LSC originally requested. The letter also asked the committee leaders to include the remaining $50 million in the next stimulus bill to help address the "tidal wave" of low-income Americans needing legal assistance due to the dramatic spike of evictions, foreclosures, domestic violence, family law issues, and other legal problems caused by the pandemic.