The Dwindling Access to Medical and Legal Care in Rural America

By: Ragan Morrison, Spring 2018 Intern, HeLP Legal Services Clinic

Before I began working in the HeLP Clinic, I was vaguely aware of what is a growing crisis in our country—the lack of access to medical services in rural communities.  This issue has received at least some news coverage, and I knew the medical community has been seeking solutions, but it is still a rather hidden problem.  Given the urban-centric awareness of the American “intelligentsia” and the fact that most people in the U.S. do live in cities or metro areas, this is understandable, but as the baby-boomer generation grows older this problem will only get worse.  What I had not considered before, but have come into direct contact with through the clinic, is the parallel loss of access to legal help.

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Embracing Mental Health Courts

By: Alyssa Potts, HeLP Legal Services Clinic, Spring 2018 Intern

Mental health courts are being widely embraced in many communities in America as of late. The idea behind mental health courts is simple—instead of sending someone who is suffering from a mental illness to jail or prison for their crimes, where there is little to no possibility of their condition being properly managed and treated, the individual is offered treatment through the court where they are also offered housing and other social services. The goal of these programs is to reduce recidivism and decrease the amount of contact that people with mental illnesses have with the criminal justice system by providing them with treatment and resources to improve their social functioning where they may not be able to do so on their own. This is a win-win situation because taxpayers save money that would have been spent to house someone in jail, and the offenders with mental health issues are able to receive the support and services they need to manage their conditions and often have the chance to have their record expunged after successful completion of the mental health program. It is commonly thought that the standard punishments for criminals are ineffective when applied to the mentally ill, especially when the mental illness was the aggravating circumstance that led to the crime taking place in the first place. Inspired by other “problem-solving courts” like drug courts and community courts, mental health courts are blazing a new pathway, with over 300 mental health courts in place nationwide in less than 30 years of practice.

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All That and a Bag of CHIP(s)

By: Alyssa Potts

In recent months, you have probably heard on the news station or read in the newspaper about something called “CHIP.” If you’re like me, you probably questioned what chips had to do with kids and healthcare and why you should care about it. Of course, I soon figured out that everyone was referring to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This past September, CHIP funding lapsed causing a great amount of stress for families across the country. CHIP is a program that was implemented in 1997 and covers 9 million children nationwide, as well as over 370,000 pregnant women, per year. The program covers children up until the age of 19. This program is so important and needed because it helps lower- and middle-income families who are ineligible for Medicaid acquire health insurance for their children. CHIP, which may go by a different name depending on the state, is low-cost insurance for families with incomes too high for Medicaid, but potentially too low to afford private insurance plans. The program covers routine check-ups, doctor visits, prescriptions, emergency services, and hospital care, among other things.

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Georgia State Law to Host Investor Town Hall With Five SEC Commissioners

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Atlanta Regional Office will host an Atlanta Investor Town Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, at Georgia State University College of Law, 85 Park Place NE.

All five commissioners are participating and will explain SEC initiatives aimed at helping investors and share tips on how to protect investments. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear information directly from SEC leaders and ask questions.

“We are honored the SEC is holding the event at Georgia State Law. With most Americans responsible for their own retirement, this type of outreach and education is important,” said Nicole G. Iannarone, assistant clinical professor and director of the Georgia State Law Investor Advocacy Clinic (IAC). “Investors owe it to our future selves to learn as much as we can about our options and protect ourselves from risks.”

Richard Best, director, Atlanta Regional Office, and Wendy F. Hensel, Georgia State Law dean and professor of law, will deliver opening remarks. SEC Chair Jay Clayton and Commissioners Kara SteinMichael PiwowarRobert Jackson and Hester Peirce will then lead the town hall, covering topics including:

  • Choosing a financial professional
  • Investing in mutual funds and ETFs
  • Finding information about companies you invest in
  • How FinTech is changing your options
  • Protecting your Information in the digital age

Following the main session, the commissioners will hold break-out sessions on investing in small companies, saving throughout a career, evaluating mutual funds and ETFs, Bitcoins and ICOs and fraud prevention. Continue reading

How Unhealthy Housing Affects Children and How Attorneys Can Help

By: Carly Morrison, Spring 2018 HeLP Legal Services Clinic Intern 

What is unhealthy housing?

Unhealthy housing is related to exposure to toxins and other environmental factors. The CDC has defined unhealthy housing as the presence of any characteristics that might negatively affect the health of its occupants, including evidence of rodents, water leaks, peeling paint in homes built before 1978, the absence of a working smoke detector, and poor air quality from mold or radon.

Why is unhealthy housing a problem for children?

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Professor Vath Hands Atlanta Bar Association Presidency Off to Professor Iannarone

In May, the Atlanta Bar Association leadership transferred from Margaret Vath, senior lecturer in law, to Nicole Iannarone, associate clinical professor—the first time presidents representing a law school have served in immediate succession.

Before entering academia, Iannarone was in private practice that modeled giving back and encouraged leadership as a way to do so. At Georgia State Law, she found an environment that encourages engagement with practicing lawyers.

As its president for the 2018-19 term, Iannarone wants to capitalize on the Atlanta Bar’s strengths and the things that make people want to be part of the organization. Continue reading

Georgia State Law to Host SEC Town Hall on June 13

Understanding many of today’s investment products and dynamic capital markets can be a challenging task to even the most seasoned investors. That is why the folks at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission want to hear from Main Street, and they are coming to Atlanta to do just that. You heard that right, Wall Street is coming to Main Street.

On June 13, all of the Commission’s members—the Chairman and four Commissioners-will be hosting a town hall style event with Georgia State University’s College of Law. SEC staff will also be on hand to lead some breakout sessions on topics such as Bitcoin and ICOs, mutual funds and their disclosures, and investing in and raising money for small businesses. Residents in the southeast are invited to attend, and to those who can’t attend in person, a webcast will be available to watch remotely. Be sure to check sec.gov/Atlanta for more event details.

Events like this, when federal regulators step outside the DC Beltway, don’t happen every day.  We hope you will join us in person on June 13, where you can meet Chairman Jay Clayton, and Commissioners Kara Stein, Michael Piwowar, Robert Jackson and Hester Peirce, and that you will also pass the invitation along to investors and Americans who you believe will benefit.