LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

 

Our nation and the African American community are at a crucial point. While as a country we have made significant progress in the area of civil rights especially in the past 60 years and though we are halfway through the second term of our first African American president, many significant challenges remain. Affirmative action is under attack, as we recently saw in the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a Michigan constitutional amendment banning affirmative action in the state’s public universities. And in recent years, we’ve seen a growing movement to require voters to present photo IDs in order to vote. These are just two examples of the challenges we continue to face. As indicated during my inaugural speech, to stop any further erosion of civil and political rights and restore democracy, guided by our current legislative agenda this bar year the NBA will focus on three key areas of our legislative agenda.

EDUCATION

In the United States, racial and ethnic disparities in education exist across an array of domains. A number of studies document such disparities and show that they have developed and persisted over time in the context of historical and structural racism in ways that may influence policies, practices and programs. The NBA supports programming and legislation that addresses disparities in the education system and provides creative and specialized responses to adjudicated youths.

VOTER PROTECTION

The National Bar Association opposes the wave of restrictive voting laws that threaten the rights of voters across the country. In addition, the National Bar Association urged the Department of Justice to continue its investigation into the legality of these laws under the Voters Rights Act. And supports legislation that enfranchised citizens and protects their right to vote. Specifically, the Voter Empowerment Act of 2013, the Democracy Restoration Act and the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act.
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THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY

Millions of Americans have been harmed by these challenges in already overburdened courts across the country. In addition, they deprive our federal courts of the capacity to deliver timely justice and has harmful consequences to the citizens it has sworn to serve and protect. The judiciary does not have the discretion to decline or defer cases based on resource constraints, it is required to adjudicate the cases regardless of staffing and resource levels in the federal courts. Increased funding for the judiciary and immediate action on judicial vacancies is essential. >> Download Our Judicial Selection Policy

2014-2015 SELECTED INITIATIVES

Year at a Glance | Police Brutality | Real Solutions | De-scalation Bill


IMMIGRATION REFORM Nearly every American family has their own immigration story. Generations of immigrants braved hardship and great risk to reach our shores in search of a better life for themselves and their families.The NBA joins the President in calling on all Americans to work together to foster a constructive national conversation on immigration reform that builds a bipartisan consensus and leads to legislative reform. Furthermore, the National Bar Association supports legislation that addresses the shortcoming of the current immigration system plaguing the United States.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The United States’ criminal justice system faces significant challenges. During the past 25 years, the U.S. prison and jail population reached an all-time high and the number of people on probation and parole doubled. The National Bar Association supports legislation that reduces the availability of firearms and ultimately decreases the number of violent crimes. The National Bar Association also supports legislation that will address the shortcomings of the criminal justice system.

EMPLOYMENT

The disparate treatment of people of color and women in the workplace is a problem that spans decades in the United States. Practices like unequal pay and assessing credit worthiness as a contingency of employment have a negative impact of minorities. It is of the utmost importance that the 113th Congress put in place legislation that increases the disclosure of information about how much workers are paid and prohibits the use of consumer reports in the assessment of potential employees.

HOUSING

Housing discrimination is a painful reality that targets communities of color and the poor. Furthermore, substandard segregated housing in minority communities exacerbates economic, political and educational disparities. The 113th Congress must increase the supply of affordable and accessible housing options that are integrated in the community, including home ownership and rental housing. >> Volunteer with Our Education Initiatives

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