Released by the American Council on Education, Signed by 19 associations, including NASPA, June 27, 2017
This Letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer details the potential detrimental effects the Senate healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act could have on students and institutions should it pass through Congress.
By NASPA, June 29, 2017
Among NASPA’s core beliefs is a commitment to social justice and a recognition of the foundational role student, faculty, and staff health and well-being play in fostering inclusive environments that enable student success. We have closely watched the progress of the House American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 and the companion Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017 this spring and are deeply concerned about the expected impact the legislation would have on our members and students.
By Diana Ali, June 29, 2017
The repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would no doubt have a resounding impact on the campus community including student affairs professionals. Estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to increase the number of uninsured individuals to 22 million, students, faculty, and staff would all be affected by the proposed Senate healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017. This post examines the unusual legislative track of the bill, the impact on higher education, and alternative policy solutions proposed by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The NASPA Policy and Advocacy Team encourages you to express any concerns you may have with your respective legislators at this time.
By Susan Svrluga, June 26, 2017
Some university leaders have responded favorably to the most recent travel ban decision made by the Supreme Court. The judiciary system responded to statements of solidarity made by nearly 50 top university leaders by excluding students, faculty, and staff from the revised version of the travel ban blocking U.S. entry from six Muslim majority countries. The president of the Association of American Universities, Mary Sue Coleman stated, “while we are still reviewing the Court’s decision, the Court has rightly recognized that students, faculty, and lecturers from the designated countries have a bona fide relationship with an American entity….This should make clear to the world that the United States continues to welcome the most talented individuals from all countries to study, teach, and carry out research and scholarship at our universities.” While this may be true, other university representatives, such as Wim Wiewel, president of Portland State University, found the Court’s decision to set an unwelcome precedent for international students, and believed that even though the campus community is largely exempt from the bill, “banning people from the United States because of country of origin sends a chilling message.”
By Jonnelle Marte, June 27, 2017
The Labor Department (DOL) has announced it will review the Obama-era Overtime Rule that was stymied from going into effect late last year through a court injunction. The Overtime Rule would have changed the income threshold for overtime eligibility from $23,660 a year to $47,500 a year which has been criticized for its potential burden on businesses. DOL secretary Alexander Acosta has stated that the overtime threshold needs to be revisited, but that the Obama-era policy was too extreme. The DOL has also announced a proposed delay to a rule that would require companies to electronically report employee injuries and illness, and has indicated a new tailored approach to issuing guidance.
By Doug Lederman, June 28, 2017
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Civil Rights, Candice Jackson, and Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division, Thomas E. Wheeler, were well received at the National Association of College and University Attorneys annual meeting after promising both streamlined policy and better protections for students. The two federal representatives were met with initial skepticism in light of both the February rescinded guidance for trans protections and the leaked June OCR internal guidance indicating a new case-by-case investigative process. Jackson criticized the former administration for “over-reaching” and creating an unmanageable back-log of cases. Jackson indicated OCR may revisit the ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard within the 2011 Title IX Dear Colleague Letter, and both Wheeler and Jackson reaffirmed the administration’s intent to protect trans students.
By Emmarie Huetteman and Nicholas Kulish, June 29, 2017
On Friday the House passed two restrictive immigration bills, Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act. Passing somewhat under the radar with the rising healthcare debate in the Senate, the measures are highly supported by President Trump and fall in line with his policy platform. Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly praised the bills and stated that sanctuary cities prioritize “criminals over public and law enforcement officer safety.” Kate’s Law further criminalizes attempts for re-entry by deported undocumented immigrants. The bill received some bipartisan support and passed the House 257 to 167. The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act increases monetary penalties for localities refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials and passed 228 to 195.
By Rob Shimshock, June 30, 2017
In the rising free speech debate, the University of California, Berkeley is attempting to dismiss a lawsuit filed in light of Ann Coulter’s canceled speech in spring. Campus attorneys insist the claims being filed against them are moot, and that UC Berkeley was following campus policy. The speech cancelation, the university claimed, was due to security concerns, not the author’s political views. UC Berkeley also stated that Ann Coulter had been invited to come speak at a later date in lieu of the cancelation. Representatives of the Young America’s Foundation who filed the claim stated that “this weak attempt by the University of California, Berkeley to brush off their egregious free speech violations is staggering but unfortunately unsurprising.”
In the past few weeks we have seen a rising debate in Texas through the anticipated re-introduction of anti-trans legislation in the July special session. In the past few months other states have retreated from the conversation. So far, 16 states have introduced bathroom bills during the 2017-2018 state legislative sessions. Legislation has failed in AL, AR, KY, MT, SD, VA, and WY. WA HB 1011 was reintroduced through a resolution and retained in present status on 06/21/2017.
In the past few months, we have seen 11 states consider 18 pieces of anti-sanctuary legislation that would affect college campuses. 6 states have introduced (pro) sanctuary legislation that extends to college campuses. Of this legislation, 9 pieces have failed, and 15 are pending, and 4 have been enacted. CA SB 54, a statewide sanctuary bill is in Assembly and has passed the Committee on Public Safety and was read a second time, amended, and re-referred to the Committee on Judiciary on 06/19/2017. PA HB 14 was removed from the table on 06/22/2017.
Guns on Campus:
Upwards of 17 states are considering legislation concerning guns on campus during the current session. In the 40 pieces of legislation the Policy and Advocacy Team is tracking, 16 bills are pending, 20 have failed, and 4 have been enacted, in AR, GA, and OK. CA AB 424 was re-read, amended, and re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations on 06/27/2017. GA HB 280 is scheduled to go into effect on 07/01/2017.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) (Introduced 06/22/2017)
-Latest Action: 06/29/2017 Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act which has passed the House would change the current national standard from the voluntary enforcement of federal immigration detainers to mandatory enforcement. The bill contains a clause allowing felony victims to sue localities that do not enforce detainers, and protects enforcers from civil liability. Enforced at varying levels of government jurisdiction, campus law enforcement would be affected by this policy.
-Primary Sponsor: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) (Introduced 06/22/2017)
-Latest Action: 06/29/2017 Motional to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objections.
Kate’s Law, which has already passed the House, limits re-entry by undocumented immigrants that have been deported after being convicted of a crime. The bill is named after Kathryn Steinle, who was killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2015 who had re-entered the country after deportation 5 times. The bill would enforce a criminal penalty on those attempting re-entry of up to 25 years in prison.
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