More on Nebraska’s crime victims: Bipartisan bills aim to get more aid to victims of violent crime

  • June 14, 2023

Legislators have introduced at least two bills related to Nebraska’s Crime Victim’s Reparations program during the ongoing legislative session.

Omaha Sen. Wendy DeBoer, a Democrat, introduced Legislative Bill 757 based on findings in a survey of 18 programs that help victims across the state. Her office conducted a survey with the Women’s Fund of Omaha.

The bill, which has Republican and Democrat co-sponsors, aims to help the program help more people: It extends the deadline for reporting the crime to police from three to five days, extends the filing deadline for minors and lets the CVR committee consider applications that miss the deadline for “good cause.”

An anecdote DeBoer shared: A minor’s claim for compensation following her rape was denied because her father filed it a day late.

Would passage of LB 757 cause a sudden uptick in the numbers Nebraska reports to the federal government, which pales in comparison to most surrounding states? Probably not, DeBoer said, but the people it would add to those numbers – like that minor – are among those who need the most help.

The bill received a priority designation from Speaker John Arch, a Republican from La Vista, who has 25 such designations to dole out per session. The Judiciary Committee approved it unanimously, sending it to the full Legislature for consideration.

Another bill, from Omaha Sen. John Fredrickson, a Democrat, would ban medical providers from referring to victims of sexual assault, domestic assault, trafficking or child abuse to collections.

The bill, LB 315, also prohibits “distributing information” that could affect their credit score.

Victims are routinely billed for medical costs because they don’t have insurance, they haven’t used it or it didn’t cover certain services, said Katie Welsh, legal director at the Women’s Center for Advancement, at the bill’s public hearing.

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A new forever war: the Pentagon’s post-Roe abortion stance ignites political, legal fights

  • June 13, 2023

It’s a new kind of forever war for the Pentagon as battles play out in the courtroom and at the ballot box, with deeply emotional implications for female troops and ripple effects throughout American society.

Far from providing certainty, the Defense Department’s decision to fund out-of-state travel for female service members to obtain abortions has instead raised high-stakes questions and could create the most personal of political footballs.

Analysts say the looming challenges to the policy will break the legal ground.

The more immediate fights could be in the political arena. Without affirmation from federal courts, the policies adopted by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs could easily be reversed by a future Republican president — and the next Democratic-led Defense Department could then undo that reversal.

Such back-and-forth would be reminiscent of the on-again, off-again Mexico City policy, which prohibits nongovernmental organizations from promoting abortions as a condition of receiving any US family planning funding. The Biden administration has accepted that policy. President Trump reinstated it in a series of partisan tit-for-tat moves since its inception under President Reagan.

The Justice Department says the Pentagon is on a solid legal footing to offer time off, travel reimbursement and other aid to female troops who, because of state laws, must seek legal abortions elsewhere. Supporters note that many large US bases are in the South and other conservative parts of the country where state legislatures have rushed to impose or reinstate abortion curbs.

SEE ALSO: Supreme Court leaves abortion pill access alone while case goes through courts

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signaled his plans just days after the Supreme Court ruling in June. “I am committed to taking care of our people and ensuring the readiness and resilience of our forces. The department is examining this decision closely

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Workplace mental health first aid means more than just box ticking

  • June 12, 2023

Clare Price, Director of Clinical Services at Onebright

For years there have been discussions about mental health first aid becoming a legal requirement in the workplace, but no Government to date has implemented a policy. It was good to see Mr. Russell re-introduce a bill in parliament in January, but we have to remember that it is very rare that ‘ten-minute bills’ such as this one become law.

The one thing it has done is get us all talking and thinking about how to best support employees and inspire effective change for the benefit of individuals across the country.

Previous studies have shown that providing mental health support can save businesses up to £8 billion* a year, with 70 million workdays being lost annually due to mental health-related issues. It is clear that companies at executive level should endorse mental health first aid in their organizational culture with open arms, however, it’s introduction should not become a way to tick a box.

With the introduction of remote and hybrid working over the years, businesses have had to adapt how they support their workforce, especially those who may find it difficult to cope with their mental and emotional wellbeing.

What to consider when implementing mental health first aid

The role of a mental health first aider sits entirely outside the role of HR, or senior management. They act as the first point of contact for employees to talk to when experiencing a mental health issue, which then helps sign post the employee to appropriate resources, whether that be an organizational support such as a wellbeing service or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), or to their GP, the NHS or other recognized third sector and charity organisations.

The ease of accessibility to mental health first aiders is

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IBP rolls out pro bono legal aid via web portal

  • June 11, 2023

By Rey E. Requejo

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has launched its Pro Bono Portal (PBP) where indigent litigants nationwide can now avail themselves of free legal services online through the IBP’s “web-based legal aid platform.”

In its advisory, the IBP said its lawyers and legal aids nationwide have started their training.

“To avail legal aid services, a potential client can apply for legal assistance through the PBP which can be easily searched by typing ‘IBP pro bono portal‘ or ‘IBP free legal aid,’” the IBP stressed.

“The system then sends the application to the IBP Chapter concerned which can filter out the application and assign it to the member,” he said.

It also said the other important features of the PBP include “the integration of the means and merits test and its language translations to Pilipino and Cebuano.”

The IBP assured that “the PBP is free, secure, inclusive, and designed to be responsive to the needs of indigenous Filipinos while highlighting the competence and integrity of the Bar’s pro bono legal aid programs.”

It said the training of lawyers and their legal aids is being done by the American Bar Association-Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). The training started last April 20.

“The PBP was developed by Justice Connect, a non-profit company based in Australia which supports organizations in various jurisdictions including inter alia, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Germany,” the IBP said.

“The development of the PBP was made possible through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported ‘Access to Justice and Support for the Rule of Law’ program of ABA ROLI,” it added.

It also said that the technology of Justice Connect “effectively and efficiently connects clients and pro bono lawyers and law firms in a system that

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News Briefs: LGBTQ legal professionals mobilize to ‘Legalize Drag’ :: Bay Area Reporter

  • June 10, 2023

Legal professionals in the LGBTQI+ community will take the stage at Oasis Saturday, April 29, for “Legalize Drag,” a fundraiser for grassroots organizations in Tennessee. The state recently passed a law banning adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors from taking place on public property and in the presence of those under 18 years of age.

The law also deems “male and female impersonators” adult cabaret performers. The law was supposed to go into effect April 1 but a federal judge has temporarily blocked it, saying it was likely “vague and overly broad” in its restrictions of speech, as Reuters reported.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) also signed legislation banning gender-affirming care for trans youth, as the BAR previously reported.

Given those developments, as well as the over 400 other anti-LGBTQ bills facing legislative action across the country, local drag performers and legal professionals Michael Trung Nguyen and Ari Jones decided to organize and host the fundraiser, a news release stated.

Jones, who identifies as nonbinary, performs in drag as Pop Rox. The release stated that they saw the need to raise funds and showcase legal professionals who also perform in drag as a way to fight back against the legislation. Jones is a director at Berkeley-based Oasis Legal Services, which works with queer asylees and other immigrant survivors of trauma, the release stated.

“The criminalization of drag presents a unique hardship for queer legal professionals and others who have to pass background checks and prove a certain moral standard in order to be licensed,” Jones stated. “The idea that I could lose my law license if I lived in another state simply because I dress a certain way or lip synch to a song is a clear violation of the First Amendment to our Constitution.”

The show will also

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Tennessee providing employment, legal aid resources as part of Second Chance Month

  • June 9, 2023

Tennessee groups and agencies are collaborating throughout April to help formerly incarcerated people and justice-involved individuals — a term some agencies use to describe anyone who has ever been charged with a crime — find jobs and get legal aid.

An upcoming event planned in western Tennessee is aimed at providing employment services to people who have encountered difficulties finding jobs because of the stigma that experts say comes with a criminal record. This event is a part of National Second Chance Month, which has been recognized annually every April since 2017 and serves to highlight the roles of individuals, communities and agencies in supporting formerly incarcerated people.

to support justice-involved individualsTennessee’s Office of Reentry (OOR) scheduled multiple Second Chance Hiring and Resource events throughout the state.

The last of the three resource fairs will be at the Clarksville American Job Center on Friday from 9 am to 2 pm

“An event like this one helps address these barriers and more by bringing together not only employers but also local and state supportive services,” Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Chief Communications Officer Chris Cannon said. “The Office of Reentry hopes that these events will also allow conversations and connections to occur between stakeholders in the reentry field to further their effectiveness.”

Cannon said justice-involved individuals can face several barriers to getting jobs, including discrimination due to a previous criminal history, lack of education or job training opportunities, financial barriers, physical or mental health issues and legal restrictions.

At the event, attendees will have a chance to meet prospective employers and connect with community resources and consult with legal aid services about record expungement.

One group that will be represented at Friday’s resource fair is the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission, which provides Tennesseeans

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Brooklyn woman, Legal Aid Society calls for better tenant protections

  • June 8, 2023

An East New York woman is in jeopardy of losing her home, and she and members of the Legal Aid Society are calling on Albany to put protections in place for tenants to not be victimized without good cause.

The apartment has been home to Camey King for over a decade, and she received an eviction notice in March to vacate her apartment. She says her rent payments are on time, and that she only recently learned her home had a new landlord.

The Legal Aid Society told News 12 that the home King lives in went into foreclosure back in 2016. According to a report filed in the foreclosure case, the new owner, SKZF 737 Mazel LLC, had purchased the property at 737 Alabama Ave. for $525,000, but the deed was effective dating back to Oct. 2021.

Three months after receiving the eviction notice, King was in housing court, hoping his cries would not fall on deaf ears after being told he needed to leave for no reason.

The Legal Aid Society is representing King in her case while calling on Albany to enact ‘good cause’ legislation to ensure that tenants in unregulated units have basic protections against unwarranted evictions and increasing unreasonable rent.

King’s current vacate deadline is May 15, and her lawyers say the goal is to ask for time for King to find a new place to live.

News 12 has reached out to the owners of the property and is awaiting a response.

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Syrian refugee crisis: How Lebanon bears the burden while NGOs receive aid

  • June 7, 2023
Lebanon’s licensed civil society organizations have grown significantly since the Syrian displacement crisis, with 4,001 establishments from 2011 to July 2022 out of 10,370 organizations licensed by the Interior Ministry.

These new organizations have launched several projects to address the needs of refugees in Lebanon, including food, education, healthcare and treatment, psychological care, and legal aid.

Moreover, according to previous statements by UNHCR officials, the international community has supported these organizations for 12 years with more than $13 billion.

However, these billions were distributed among many sectors, such as:

providing mental healthcare for children
providing stationery and books to students
educating Syrian refugees
providing legal consultations and support
providing pregnant refugees with healthcare
providing direct financial and moral support to refugees, and many other things

However, while $13 billion has not reached the Lebanese state and has gone directly to agencies, associations, and organizations, the Lebanese government has incurred billions of dollars in costs due to displacement.

Furthermore, a World Bank study showed that the direct cost of the Syrian displacement in the Lebanese state is around $1 billion annually, in addition to an indirect cost of up to $3.5 billion.

This means that Lebanon’s annual displacement cost is $4.5 billion. Thus Lebanon has paid $54 billion over 12 years, most of which has been due to the exhaustion of infrastructure and essential services. The state has lost over fifty billion dollars, as international aid has been injected into organizations alone, with no benefit to the state.

Even if these associations and organizations have implemented their projects and programs, they are insufficient to address the crisis’s implications for the country’s infrastructure.

But Lebanon is currently in a crisis and trying to mitigate the damage, while associations and organizations are demonizing any attempt to return

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Racine Receives Legal Aid DC Honor

  • June 6, 2023

Former DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine received one of two Servant of Justice Awards from Legal Aid DC during its 33rdrd annual dinner at the JW Marriott Hotel in Northwest on April 19.

The Servant of Justice Award is designed to “celebrate people who have demonstrated faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring that all persons have equal and meaningful access to justice,” according to the organization’s program. Legal Aid DC assists over 9,000 low-and-middle income Washingtonians with civil cases and has a staff of 90.65 of whom are attorneys.

Previous recipients of the Award include Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (posthumously in 1993), former US Attorney General Eric Holder (1998) and retired founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund Marian Wright Edelman (2016).

Racine served as the District’s first elected attorney general from 2015-2023. He gained national recognition for supporting District statehood, advocating on behalf of a woman’s right to an abortion, and aggressively pursuing companies violating residents’ consumer and civil rights. He currently works as a partner for the Hogan Lovells law firm.

“Legal Aid DC is a juggernaut in the public interest,” Racine said to the gathering of over 300 people. “At the Office of the Attorney General, we used the law to help vulnerable residents.”

The co-recipient of the Servant Award was David Dantzic, a partner with the Latham & Watkins law firm. Other awardees were Cozen O’Connor law firm associate Josephine M. Bahn for the Klepper Prize for Volunteer Service. Resident Farhana Chowdhury and the Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project co-received The Partnership Award.

Notables attending the event included DC Superior Court Chief Judge Anita Josey-Herring and Erek Barron, the US Attorney for Maryland.

James Wright photo

James Wright Jr. is the DC political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked

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Channel migrants may get ‘right to claim legal aid’ to fight deportation: UK

  • June 5, 2023

Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, Suella Braverman has introduced new measures for migrants, reported the Daily Mail. In these new measures, channel migrants would have the right to claim legal aid to fund human rights challenges against deportation. The UK Home Secretary has set out changes to the immigration Bill and made it clear that ‘irregular’ migrants would be authorized for legal aid “if they claim their life will be at risk in their home nation, or they will face torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. The move has been proposed in addition to a number of other actions that up to 60 rebel Conservative backbenchers have called for in order to take more drastic measures to prevent Channel migrants. However, these new measures seemed to aim at pacifying the Tories from the liberal wing of the party that had raised concerns. Further, the ministers have also agreed to look at introducing more ‘safe and legal routes‘ into the UK. However, one of the campaigners said the legal aid measures made ‘little sense’.

UK Home Minster on migrants

Migration Watch UK, Alp Mehmet has lobbied for tougher border controls and stated, “It makes little sense if the Home Secretary wants to reduce the spiraling cost of the asylum system and stem the flow of illegal boat crossings… She should think again. ” On Saturday, the country witnessed the highest number of arrivals by small boats across the Channel this year. According to the figures released yesterday by the Home Office, 497 migrants reached Dover, UK on Saturday, just over the high of 492 seen on April 5. According to this latest data, this means that 5,546 small boat migrants have crossed from northern France since the beginning of January.

While addressing the issue, the Home Secretary, Suella

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