Weekly Round-up: February 14th, 2014

LGBT Rights

~Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Department of Justice’s new policy on federal benefits for same sex married couples. These new policies include the right to decline to testify against one’s spouse in court where the U.S. is a party, joint filing for bankruptcy, and visitation for federal inmates. The federal government will determine the validity of a marriage based on the jurisdiction where it was celebrated, not where the couple currently resides. For example, if a same sex couple marries in New York and then moves to Alabama and files for bankruptcy they will be able to file jointly under federal law because their marriage was legally valid in New York. Click here for Holder’s Memo and here for an article discussing it. (Huffington Post)

State of the City and Budget Addresses

~Mayor de Blasio delivered his first State of the City address on February 10th. The speech addressed a wide range of topics including Paid Sick Leave, Universal pre-K, and affordable housing. The complete transcript of the speech can be found here. Mayor de Blasio also presented the Preliminary Budget for the 2015 Fiscal Year.

State of the Judiciary Address

~During Chief Judge Lippman’s State of the Judiciary address, Chief Judge Lippman proposed the Pro Bono Scholars Program which would provide accelerated admission to the New York Bar for students devoted to pro bono work. Students in this program would take the February Bar that is administered in their last semester of law school and then will spend the remainder of the semester engaged in pro bono legal services under the supervision of a clinical program, a law firm, corporation, or legal service provider. The State of the Judiciary  can be found here. For more information on the program, click here. (NYTimes)