UPDATE #6: DEMOCRATIC ATTORNEYS GENERAL LEADERSHIP IN ADDRESSING COVID-19
April 17, 2020
Democratic AGs Taking Necessary Steps to Protect the People
As millions of people face health and fiscal challenges related to COVID-19 and many communities struggle to address testing needs and a lack of protective equipment for medical professionals and others on the front lines, Democratic AGs continue to fight for their communities.
Here are some key updates on how Democratic AGs are fighting for the people in their states this week:
PROTECTING HEALTH CARE
As unemployment skyrockets and uncertainty grows around continued access to healthcare without employer-sponsored health insurance, Democratic AGs continue to take action on both the national and state levels to protect access to affordable health insurance.
- North Carolina AG Josh Stein, California AG Xavier Becerra, and Michigan AG Dana Nessel led a coalition of 22 Democratic AGs urging the federal government to immediately develop and implement an outreach plan to inform the millions of people who have lost, or may lose, their health insurance coverage because of a COVID-19 related job loss of the Special Enrollment Period that is available to them.
- Virginia AG Mark Herring urged Virginians who have lost, or may lose, their jobs due to the COVD-19 health crisis to evaluate their insurance options to make sure that they remain covered during this pandemic.
ADVOCATING FOR PAID SICK LEAVE
Democratic AGs are fighting to make sure workers don’t have to choose between keeping their job and staying healthy.
- New York AG Tish James sued the Trump Administration challenging its rule to narrow workers’ rights to paid sick leave and emergency family leave during the pandemic, claiming it contradicts the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
PREVENTING GUN VIOLENCE
Democratic AGs continue to fight against the distribution of 3D-printed gun blueprints, which a company recently posted online.
- 25 Democratic AGs sent a letter to the U.S. DOJ and Secretary of State Pompeo demanding that the federal government take action to have 3D-printed gun files removed from the internet. (Reminder: Dem AGs have blocked a Trump administration rule on the distribution of 3D gun blueprints in court TWICE).
PROTECTING MAIN STREET CONSUMERS
As the stimulus checks from the federal government start hitting mailboxes and bank accounts across the country this week, Democratic AGs are working to protect against relief fund related scams and to ensure that the funds go directly to the people.
- A coalition of 25 AGs sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin calling on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to take immediate action to ensure billions of dollars in emergency stimulus payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) go to families and not debt collectors.
- 23 Democratic AGs sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) urging the agency to continue holding credit reporting agencies responsible throughout the duration of the COVID-19 crisis so Main Street consumers can re-enter the market without delay.
Democratic AGs are fighting back against the Trump administration’s attempts to implement a discriminatory “public charge” rule that would deter immigrants and their families from accessing vital health care resources during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- New York AG Tish James, Vermont AG TJ Donovan, and Connecticut AG William Tong are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to temporarily lift or modify its decision to allow the Public Charge rule to move forward until the COVID-19 national emergency is over.
ADDRESSING RACIAL DISPARITIES
The latest analysis of the COVID-19 crisis indicates that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the virus.
- Democratic AGs like New York AG Tish James, Nevada AG Aaron Ford, and Michigan AG Dana Nessel are raising awareness about the racial disparities and calling for more resources for those communities as the nation responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Democratic AGs continue to provide resources to their constituents, from price gouging and hate crime hotlines to educational tools for students.
- Massachusetts AG Maura Healey created a comprehensive website dedicated to all things COVID-19. People are able to locate testing centers, emergency childcare, and a FAQ page. Additionally, people can say thank you to front line workers and essential workers can share their stories about what they are seeing.
- California AG Xavier Becerra launched a website with COVID-19 related information and resources for consumers. This site includes information on price gouging and scams as well as tips for tenants, workers, students, and families.
The actions above are just a snapshot of the incredible work Dem AGs are doing to keep our families and communities safe. In addition to the highlights above, Dem AGs are:
- Providing guidance to government agencies on how to address Open Meeting Acts & Sunshine Laws in this new environment;
- Pushing large corporations to provide paid family leave;
- Advocating for a pause in eviction proceedings;
- Urging utility companies to postpone late payment fees and service shut-offs;
- Fighting against hate crimes and discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander populations;
- Working with the courts and the criminal justice system to guarantee both justice and fairness through the courts during this emergency.
For more on Democratic AG leadership during this challenging time, check out the previous updates here:
- April 10 – UPDATE #5
- April 3 – UPDATE #4
- March 27 – UPDATE #3
- March 20 – UPDATE #2
- March 13 – UPDATE #1
And be sure to follow along on DAGA’s social media accounts linked here: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.