Government Relations Newsletter— Vol. 4

By Department of Government Relations

March 21, 2023

Government Relations Newsletter— Vol. 4


By Department of Government Relations

Welcome to NYSBA’s Government Relations Newsletter. Stay informed about what is happening in the legislative arena and learn about NYSBA’s advocacy on policies that matter to members.

Advocacy Advances at the State Capitol:

President T. Andrew Brown and President-Elect Sherry Levin Wallach of the New York State Bar Association have spent the past few weeks (virtually) making their way through the halls of the State Capitol, lobbying members of the legislature on raising the assigned counsel rates and repealing Judiciary Law 470. The Association has been unwavering in pressuring the legislature on these two issues, and many in the Capitol now associate the issue of rate raises and the repeal of 470 with the New York State Bar Association. Presently, the standalone assigned counsel legislation (S.3527a/ A.6013a) remains in committee in both houses. The repeal of Judiciary Law 470 (S.700/A.5895) has passed the Senate but remains in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. With three short weeks left in the legislative session, these items remain the top priorities of the Association.

Committee and Section leaders have also been actively advocating for issues important to their groups in the past month. Several calls and meetings have taken place to advance legislative proposals drafted by the Trust and Estates Section, the Committee on Civil Practice Law and Rules, and the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section. Sections and Committees have also been busy commenting on legislation active within the legislature. Support and opposition memos from NYSBA’s subject matter experts are an invaluable tool for lawmakers in enacting sound laws. Please see a full list of NYSBA’s legislative memos for this session here: 2021 and 2022 Legislative Memoranda.

President Biden and Student Loans:

President Biden is reportedly considering forgiving some student loans for individuals making less than $125,000 a year. The current pause on student loan repayments expires in August.

More than 40 million Americans, mostly people under 35 years of age, have student loan debt. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the financial challenges these individuals face.

The Association has called for greater student loan relief for attorneys and non-attorneys in rural, suburban and urban areas. For attorneys, insurmountable student debt can prevent them from certain practice areas – both in terms of geography and specialty practice area.

While Congress did provide some relief, more needs to be done to mitigate the strain of student loan debt. Potential next steps could include extending the moratorium on payments, expanding the program to private loans, and providing targeted monetary relief in cases of economic hardship.

As the mid-term elections approach, the President and Congressional and Senate Democrats are under pressure to deliver on campaign promises. Student loan forgiveness would be a popular win for the party and would undoubtedly benefit constituents across the aisle.

Last year, the Administration announced changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which resulted in more than 110,000 people benefiting from $6.8 billion in student loans forgiveness.

Sections and Committees are encouraged to use their expertise and get involved in the legislative process. Please see NYSBA’s Government Relations website for legislative memos and advocacy content.

Questions about the specific legislation or the legislative process? Please contact our Government Relations Team with questions or concerns.

Department of Government Relations Team:

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