LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Women lawyers say fee increases unfair

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Providing legal services to those who may need it the most (but can’t afford it) is important — but a plan by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to shoulder higher costs on attorney registration fees has earned the ire of one important lawyer group.

The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York says it doesn’t agree with Cuomo’s proposal to raise registration fees from attorneys from $375 to $425 to help the Indigent Legal Services Fund.

The $50 increase is a jump of nearly 10 percent, as compared to the far less than 1 percent increase in lawyer’s salaries over that time, according to the bar group.

Even more, women lawyers earn an average of $1,566 biweekly compared to their male counterparts, who earn $1,986, creating what the bar calls a disproportionate effect on women.

New York lawyers have to renew the registration fee every other year. The Women’s Bar Association has asked Cuomo to consider another means to increase money for the indigent legal fund.

 

Espaillat targets Trump immigration

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat and a number of other Democratic congressional representatives re-introduced an immigration package last week as their response to President Trump’s State of the Union speech.

Among the bills is the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, which would prohibit immigration enforcement in certain “sensitive locations,” like courthouses, schools, community centers and houses of worship.

Also set for a re-introduction is the REUNITE Act, more formally the Reunite Every Unaccompanied Newborn Infant Toddler and Other Children Expeditiously Act, that would require the immediate reunification of children separated from their parent or legal guardian as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

“President Trump has made the targeting of immigrants a central part of his administration’s policies while persistently lobbing bigoted, verbal attacks at immigrant communities,” Espaillat said, in a release.

“What we witnessed during the State of the Union address was more of the same — criminalizing immigrants, promoting inhumane policies that separate children from their families, and raid sensitive locations such as public schools and courthouses.

“My colleagues and I are introducing this series of bills, a legislative package that will protect immigrants, immigrant families, and hold the Trump administration accountable.”

 

Oil drilling capped

Both chambers have passed a bill that would ban offshore oil drilling in waters considered part of New York.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who supported the legislation, said the country should be “reducing investments in antiquated and environmentally destructive fossil fuel expansion.”

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