WSM Associates Take the Lead in Fighting Unfair State Immigration Bill
August 30, 2013
On the legislative front, WSM associates have been hard at work opposing State Assembly bill AB 1159, which in its initial draft would have imposed unfair requirements on immigration attorneys to the detriment of their clients. WSM senior associate Lisa Baker Jones stepped to the forefront in her role as Chair of AILA NorCal, the Northern California chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Baker Jones led AILA's California chapters in educating legislators on how the bill as initially proposed would have missed the mark in protecting immigration consumers from fraud, and instead likely would have led to those consumers being cheated by notarios. Baker Jones testified about AB 1159 at a State Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing in Sacramento on August 26, and was the first WSMer to testify before a legislative body on a bill of concern. She wrote a letter to the editor on the bill that ran in the San Francisco Daily Journal on August 5, and also was quoted in a Daily Journal article published August 23. Associate Katy Chase, media coordinator for AILA NorCal, wrote a letter opposing the unreasonable provisions of AB 1159 that was signed on to by 25 other nonprofits throughout California and was presented to state legislators and State Bar leaders. Associate Stephanie C. Smith, advocacy coordinator for AILA NorCal, did extensive advocacy outreach. The associates' hard work, perseverance and collaboration with colleagues led to the outright removal of the bill's most onerous provisions, and they have high hopes that the few remaining sticking points will be resolved in the coming week. At that point, AILA could drop its formal opposition to the bill. We are proud of our attorneys' legislative advocacy efforts for the good of the immigrant communities we serve.