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Committee Reports

 

Committee Reports

April 2010

African Affairs
Letter to the President of Uganda expressing opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill introduced in Uganda’s parliament, which would threaten the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, as well as Ugandan organizations that support LGBT rights.  In addition to the bill’s endorsement of the death sentence for individuals found guilty of 'aggravated homosexuality,' the bill would put harsh criminal penalties in place for engaging in same-sex activity as well as for the promotion of homosexuality. 

Consumer Affairs
Civil Courts
Testimony before the New York City Council in support of Intro. 6-A, which would amend the laws governing process servers in New York City and help ameliorate many of the problems inherent in the process serving industry. The testimony spoke in favor of many of the bill’s provisions, including: requiring an applicant for a process server license to post a $10,000 surety bond; allowing for a private right of action against process servers; implementing new global positioning system requirements; requiring that process servers take an examination to obtain a license; and that the Department of Consumer Affairs produce educational materials for distribution to licensed process servers regarding process serving laws and regulations.

Council on Criminal Justice
Professional Responsibility

Letter to the Chief Judge and the Presiding Justices of the Appellate Division urging that a rule consistent with Rule 3.8 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Special Responsibilities of Prosecutors and Other Government Lawyers) be added to the provision of the New York State Rules of Professional Conduct to govern the conduct of criminal prosecutors who, after obtaining a conviction, learn of important new evidence indicating that the convicted defendant is likely to be innocent. The proposed rule would codify prosecutorial duties to disclose evidence, to conduct an appropriate investigation and, upon becoming convinced that a miscarriage of justice occurred, to take steps to remedy it. These duties would be triggered when a prosecutor either knows of new, credible, and material evidence creating a reasonable likelihood of a convicted defendant’s innocence or knows of clear and convincing evidence establishing the convicted defendant’s innocence.

Immigration and Nationality Law
Letter-brief to the U.S. Department of Justice in the Matter of S-E-G-. The letter-brief argues the requirement that members of a social group demonstrate the group has a characteristic or belief which is socially visible in order to satisfy the refugee definition set forth in section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act should be rejected as it conflicts with existing jurisprudence and eliminates important groups of refugees from surrogate international rights protection.

Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals

Report in support of S.619/H.R.1549, Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 (PAMTA), which would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to (1) deny an application for a new animal drug that is a critical antimicrobial animal drug unless the applicant demonstrates that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health due to the development of antimicrobial resistance attributable to the non-therapeutic use of the drug, and (2) withdraw approval of a non-therapeutic use of such drugs in food-producing animals two years after the date of the Act’s enactment unless certain safety requirements are met.

Letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging that the Department has the authority to take possession of endangered and threatened wildlife despite the fact an animal’s trainer/owner no longer has a license and is no longer engaged in activities for which he or she would need to be licensed. 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights
Civil Rights
Military Affairs and Justice

Report to the U.S. Senate Armed Service Committee in support of the repeal of the U.S. military’s ban on open service by a lesbian, gay, or bisexual individual, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).  Since its inception, DADT has led to the discharge of thousands of highly qualified individuals with specialized skills based on nothing more than sexual orientation. The report urges that DADT be repealed and replaced with a policy of non-discrimination. 

Sex and Law
Letter to the NYS Department of Health urging that the Department as part of its efforts to inform new mothers giving birth in maternal health care facilities of their rights to breastfeed, publicize the right to breastfeed or express milk in the workplace, as established by the new Expressing at Work Law.

State Affairs
Government Ethics

Report: Reforming New York State’s Ethics Laws the Right Way. The report urges the NYS Legislature and the Governor to enact a set of ethics reform measures that are comprehensive and effective. Outlined in the report are some of the core principles that should be part of any ethics reform bill including: 1) creation of a single independent agency responsible for overseeing and enforcing ethics laws for both the executive and legislative branch; 2) the agency should be structured to safeguard its independence and integrity; 3) full and meaningful disclosure of legislators’ outside income; 4) public Web-based access to meaningful information being disclosed by legislator; and 5) legislators should be forbidden to use their offices, staff, or other public resources to support their private business endeavors.

Task Force on National Security
Council on International Affairs
Federal Legislation
International Human Rights
International Law
Military Affairs and Justice

Letter to Congress expressing opposition to H.R.5446/S.2977, which would terminate any Department of Justice funding intended to further the prosecution of a non-citizen in an Article III court of the United States, for any offense related to the events of September 11, 2001 that could potentially be prosecuted by a military commission. If enacted, the letter argues, the bills would deprive the Department of Justice of its most effective and fairest enforcement weapon to prosecute and bring suspected terrorists to justice and be an unprecedented intrusion into the judgment and discretion of the Executive Branch to enforce federal law.