As the chief legal officer of their state, attorneys general often provide important input on both regulatory and legislative proposals. This input is often provided through the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). As a nonpartisan organization, NAAG engages in policy advocacy only when an issue has bipartisan support from a majority of attorneys general. Here is a brief recap of legislation supported by NAAG that was enacted in 2022.
In December, President Joe Biden signed H.R. 4373, the “Further Additional Continuing Appropriations and Extensions Act, 2023,” into law. As outlined below, the legislation addressed several topics which were the subject of NAAG policy letters sent to Congress.
State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act
In 2021, fifty-two attorneys general endorsed the bipartisan State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act, which provides states with the same venue selection rights as federal enforcers by prohibiting the transfer of state antitrust actions into multidistrict litigation. The legislation grants states the same benefit as the federal government in antitrust cases by allowing state attorneys general to keep cases in courts they select instead of having to relocate to a location chosen by the defendant or other parties.
Funding for the Legal Services Corporation
In April 2022, forty-one attorneys general sent a letter to Congress to support robust funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The LSC provides critical legal assistance to low-income Americans, helping families in need across the country. The omnibus bill includes $580 million for LSC.
Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act
In 2019, thirty-nine attorneys general sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to pass the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act. Among other provisions, the MAT Act eliminated the redundant and outdated requirement that practitioners apply for a separate waiver through the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of substance use disorder. NAAG has been an active advocate for increasing accessibility for treatment for opioid use disorder, and NAAG was a leader in working to pass the MAT Act. The MAT Act was included in the omnibus bill and all health care providers with a DEA registration that includes Schedule III medications can now prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder without further licensing requirements.
Additionally, President Biden has also signed the Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law allotting $816.7 billion to the Department of Defense. The NDAA included the NAAG-endorsed bill, Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act. In 2019, fifty-one attorneys general signed a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees asking Congress to pass The Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act (Daniel’s Law).Daniel’s Law honors the memory of the son of Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Daniel was tragically killed on July 19, 2020, when an armed assailant—an attorney who had appeared in a case before Judge Salas—appeared at her home and opened fire.
Public Safety Officer Support Act
In August 2022, Congress passed the Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022, which NAAG endorsed in a policy letter signed by fifty-three attorneys general. The bipartisan legislation addresses gaps in support for public safety officers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with the high-risk nature of their jobs. The House passed the bill in May with overwhelming bipartisan support, and it passed unanimously in the Senate. The bill was signed by President Biden on August 16, 2022.
NAAG will work on legislative and regulatory issues when approved by a bipartisan group of at least 36 attorneys general.
View previous NAAG Policy Letters at NAAG.org.