Disaster Response and Relief - What You Can Do To Assist the Victims of the Hurricane in Puerto Rico and Similar Disasters
CLE - Disaster Response and Relief
Co-Hosted by the Philadelphia Bar Association and Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania (HBAPA)
Experienced legal practitioners will describe how disaster legal services programs work, how to assist clients navigating FEMA regulatory rules and insurance disputes and how lawyers can generally assist disaster victims with other recurring legal issues, such as landlord tenant disputes, essential documents lost in the disaster, consumer fraud, and more.
Additionally, panelists will discuss the myriad of ethical issues that can potentially arise in disaster representation and how to address them.
Attendees will receive information on additional online resources that will assist them when they volunteer to assist a disaster survivor.
This CLE program will serve as initial training to assist disaster victims in upcoming clinics that may be sponsored by the HBA. Registration is FREE to those who will volunteer for disaster relief clinics. Details will be forthcoming.
Immediately following the CLE program, join your colleagues for a reception with Mayor Kenney at City Hall at 5:30 p.m., hosted by the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the Hispanic National Bar Association and U.S. Legal Support.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Philadelphia Bar Association
11th Floor Conference Center
1101 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
1 SUB/1 ETH
3:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Jacqueline Romero, Esq.
United States Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
President, Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania (HBAPA)
Will Gonzalez, Esq.
Amy Hirsch, Esq.
Community Legal Services, Inc. (CLS)
MaryAnn E. Tierney
Regional Administrator, Region III; Acting Regional Administrator, Region II
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Joseph A. Sullivan, Esq.
Special Counsel and Director of Pro Bono Programs
Pepper Hamilton LLP
Lecturer in Law
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Elizabeth Yang, Esq.
Deputy Director, Division for Public Services
ABA Standing Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness
American Bar Association (ABA)
Faculty subject to change. Additional faculty may be added.
In the few days left in the year, Congress is considering the following items that could destroy or restore Puerto Rico:
· Disaster Relief for the US island territory
· Health Legislation that ends or continues the inequity between US Citizens on the island and those on the mainland
· Federal Tax Legislation that increases by 20% the excise taxes on island products sold in the US. Puerto Rico based businesses are treated as "foreign corporations."
In response, the National Puerto Rican Agenda, Unidos PA'PR, and PA4PR are encouraging all who care about Puerto Rico to call Congress and ask their elected officials to provide the humanitarian help that the island's 3.5 million US citizens need to improve the US territory.
· Provide a fair amount of Disaster Relief on par with that of other US hurricane tragedies. Physical damage and lost economic productivity in Puerto Rico is estimated to be $95 billion. Provide disaster assistance without putting Puerto Rico further in debt by waiving the FEMA cost-sharing mechanism required to receive assistance programs and by forgiving FEMA Community Disaster Loans as it was done with Hurricane Katrina.
· Remove the cap on Federal Medicaid funds provided to Puerto Rico and make residents of the US territory eligible for the same Medicare benefits afforded to mainland seniors. Hurricane Maria aggravated the pre-existing healthcare crisis and funding gap, further incentivizing Puerto Ricans to move to the mainland where they can receive full benefits. Congress must also temporarily increase the Federal Medicaid matching rate for Puerto Rico to 100%, just as it was raised for Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
· Ensure that Tax Reform does no harm to Puerto Rico. The new tax legislation presently considered by Congress must:
§ NOT levy a 20% excise tax on goods manufactured in Puerto Rico by subsidiaries of US corporations
§ NOT tax 12.5% of income from intellectual property held by US corporations in Puerto Rico
§ EXTEND the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit to all families in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has earned the right to be treated fairly by Congress. There are more US veterans living on the island than there are US veterans living in the District of Colombia and in each of the following eight states: Vermont, Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Rhode Island, and Delaware.
Since 1917, more than 700,000 Puerto Ricans have served in the US armed forces. Puerto Rican soldiers have participated, with distinction, in all US theaters of war (WWI; WWII; Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan).
Please (Por favor) -
· Call your member of Congress ASAP and ask them to:
§ Provide Puerto Rico with a fair amount of Disaster Relief on par with that of other US hurricane tragedies.
§ Remove the cap on Federal Medicaid funds provided to Puerto Rico and make residents of the US territory eligible for the same Medicare benefits afforded to mainland seniors.
§ Ensure that 'Tax Reform' does no harm to Puerto Rico - STOP the 20% excise tax on Puerto Rican goods sold in the US mainland.
· Thank them for their hard work
· Let them know that you intend to stay in touch with their office because you want humane treatment for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico depends on YOU to be its voice.
Although Puerto Rico is a US Territory and its residents are US citizens, the people who live on the island do not have the right to vote for President, nor the right to have US Senators or voting members of the US House of Representatives. It is up to YOU to make the US Congress live up to the ideals that helped to forge it in Philadelphia. Chief among those ideals was 'No taxation without representation.'
Thank you for helping Puerto Rico. Encourage others to add their voice to our humane chorus.
By Will Gonzalez
October 16, 2017
Permanently exempting Puerto Rico from the Jones Act will help the U.S. territory recover from Hurricane Maria by widely opening its market for exports from the mainland, including Pennsylvania.
The 1920 Jones Act requires all shipping between two U.S. ports to be via naval vessels owned, built, and flagged in the U.S. It was enacted at a time when the size of a country’s naval prowess was the measure of a nation’s might. Its usefulness in protecting our national interests is outdated in the age of globalization and technological advancements. The steep decline in the number of ships eligible to carry cargo under the act demonstrates its ineffectiveness. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of U.S.-flagged oceangoing freighters dropped from 2,926 to 169 between 1960 and 2016, while the total number of freighters navigating the planet’s oceans increased from 17,317 to 41,674.
The laws of supply and demand, plus myriad other factors, make U.S. shipping one of the most expensive modes of moving ocean cargo. This cost is detrimental to Puerto Rico. A 2010 University of Puerto Rico study concluded that the island lost $537 million per year as a result of the Jones Act. Although some experts claim the act’s effect on the Puerto Rican economy is “uncertain,” most agree that the net effect is negative. A 2012 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York stated that the act boosts the cost of imported goods to island residents, makes exports less competitive, and diminishes the viability of Puerto Rico as a major regional trans-shipment port.
Hurricane Maria, the fifth-strongest storm ever to hit the U.S., washed away any doubts about the need to permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act. The storm left the island without electricity, killed at least 48 people, destroyed thousands of homes, and caused more than $95 billion in damages. Puerto Rico does not have the options of interstate trucking, rail, or pipelines to transport the large volume of material, food, and fuel needed to rebuild the island following the storm. It is inhumane to let the Jones Act bottleneck progress when there are 3.5 million U.S. citizens in distress. Permanently exempting Puerto Rico from the Jones Act also would help the island address its $72 billion debt.
To read more, please visit.. https://whyy.org/articles/freeing-shipping-restrictions-puerto-rico-help-u-s-island-pennsylvania/