NYSBA President Michael Miller and NYCBA President Roger Juan Maldonado / Courtesy Photo

At the urging of the New York State and New York City bar associations, the American Bar Association House of Delegates today approved a resolution calling on Congress to assist Puerto Rico in its efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Maria.

The resolution, which passed unanimously, is similar to ones that the state and city bar associations passed earlier this year.

NYSBA President Michael Miller and NYCBA President Roger Juan Maldonado worked in close collaboration to build support for the resolution, which asks Congress to exempt Puerto Rico from the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, better known as the Jones Act.

“The collaboration between the State Bar and the New York City Bar to advance this important measure is unprecedented, and I want to express special thanks to Roger Juan Maldonado for his partnership with us and his leadership on this issue,” Miller said.

The Jones Act requires that cargo shipped between two ports within the United States be transported on vessels that meet certain registration requirements. As a result of the higher cost for shipping, Puerto Rico often gets its imports from foreign countries rather than the U.S. mainland.

“It’s great that the bar associations are aligned on this,” Maldonado said. “It’s all about advocacy now, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with the American and State bars, our other partners and the public to move Congress on this issue.”