AG Maura Healey calling on Trump Administration to halt all non-essential lawmaking amid COVID-19 pandemic

AG Maura Healey calling on Trump Administration to halt all non-essential lawmaking amid COVID-19 pandemic

BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, along with 21 other attorneys general, are calling on the Trump Administration to temporarily stop all non-essential lawmaking in an effort to focus on protecting public health during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent out on Tuesday to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the coalition of attorneys general said states and other local governments have been doing their best to focus on keeping the public safe and healthy during the pandemic and that the federal government should be following suit.

Among the those joining AG Healey in sending the letter were the attorneys general of New Jersey, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

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The letter urges the federal government to stop pushing forward with non-essential regulations such as proposals that would eliminate or roll back protections against pollution and climate change, predatory lending, housing discrimination, sexual harassment and violence in schools and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals in federally-funded programs.

“The Trump Administration should focus on ensuring our first responders and medical professionals have the resources they need to save lives and protect themselves,” AG Healey said. “I’m calling for all non-essential lawmaking to be put on hold. It’s the right thing to do.”

Attorneys general are urging the federal government to halt most non-COVID-19-related lawmaking activity and to consider reopening certain already-closed rule comment periods to allow state and local governments, businesses and others impacted by the public health crisis to provide input related to COVID-19.

Among other proposals that could be delayed are cutbacks in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps and stripping asylum seekers of the ability to get work authorizations, which would affect far more Massachusetts residents today than when they were originally proposed because of the recent economic downturn.

Beyond those demands, the letter also calls for a general freeze on all new and pending rules other than those that address emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial, or national security matters, or that are required by statutory or judicial deadlines.

Last week, AG Healey’s office joined a multi-state coalition in pushing for a 120-day extension of the public’s opportunity to comment on the Trump Administration’s latest anti-science lawmaking to allow states, scientists, and the public health community to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic rather than comment on the misguided proposal.