UPDATE #7: DEMOCRATIC ATTORNEYS GENERAL LEADERSHIP IN ADDRESSING COVID-19
April 24, 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:
A coalition of 22 Democratic AGs are fighting the Trump administration’s new rule that would limit eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Trump’s new rule, if finalized, would take away food assistance from 3.1 million people and deny free lunches to over 265,000 children amid the coronavirus pandemic. These benefits are critical as over 26 million individuals have now filed for unemployment and schools extend their closures across the country.
PROTECTING ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
New York AG Tish James led a coalition of 18 Democratic AGs to stop Alabama from using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to ban nearly all abortions in the state. As Republicans continue to use the COVID-19 crisis as cover to push political agendas, Democratic AGs are ensuring that women across the country have access to safe reproductive health care.
Democratic AGs continue to protect tenants and homeowners against unlawful evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- California AG Xavier Becerra sent a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson urging the Trump Administration to suspend rulemaking on a proposal that would eliminate housing assistance for those who live with people who are ineligible for assistance based on immigration status. The rule could result in tens of thousands of people losing their homes.
- Michigan AG Dana Nessel sent a cease and desist letter to an apartment building owner that was trying to illegally evict senior tenants in violation of the governor’s executive order.
DRIVING BLOOD DONATIONS
A coalition of 20 Democratic AGs submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) supporting efforts to maintain an adequate national blood supply to aid the nation’s medical response during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the letter, the Dem AG coalition argue that while the FDA’s guidance easing restrictions on blood donations from the LGBTQ population, specifically gay and bisexual men, is a step in the right direction, the guidance does not go far enough to meet the nation’s needs.
ENFORCING EXECUTIVE ORDERS
As governors across the country issue state executive orders protecting their residents, several state Attorneys General have gone to court to defend these directives when they have been challenged.
- This week, New Mexico AG Hector Balderas successfully defended the governor’s executive order against a lawsuit by Legacy Church, Inc. challenging the ban on mass gatherings at places of worship.
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 17 – UPDATE #6
- April 10 – UPDATE #5
- April 3 – UPDATE #4
- March 27 – UPDATE #3
- March 20 – UPDATE #2
- March 13 – UPDATE #1