February 20 - 25, 2007
Volume 5 Issue 8

FOCUS: Indigent Defense Services in Michigan Constitutional Challenge
On February 22, a civil rights lawsuit was filed in Ingham Circuit Court on behalf of indigent defendants facing felony charges in three counties: Berrien, Genesee, and Muskegon. The newly formed MI Coalition for Justice charges that the State of Michigan violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 20 of the Michigan Constitution. The lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.
Read Complaint: Duncan et al. v State of Michigan
Visit the MI Coalition for Justice Website for more information
See Also:
Lawsuit Says State Doesn't Spend Enough on Public Defenders
(AP/Mlive.com, 2/22/07)

FOCUS: Proposal to Tax Legal Services
Identical 27-bill packages to implement Governor Granholm’s proposal for a 2% sales tax on services, including legal services, and a proposed business tax plan, are expected to be introduced this week in the House and Senate.

The Tax Analysis Division of the Michigan Department of Treasury released estimated service tax revenue by sector for fiscal year 2008 totaling approximately $1.5 billion. The estimated service tax revenue for professional, scientific, and technical services (including legal, accounting, engineering, except for research engineering, consulting, and veterinary services) is $487.6 million, or $59.5 million for consumers and $428.1 million for businesses.

Also available from the Department of Treasury is a description of what services will be taxed, the number of other states taxing those services, a description of services to be exempt, and purchasers to be exempt, regardless of the services.
View Taxation of Services List

In the Capitol
Committee meetings of interest for the week of 2/26
2/27 House Regulatory Reform
Agenda: HB 4208 Define and provide in certain circumstances qualified interpreter for deaf or deaf-blind individual.

2/28 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 4301 Define, and provide for general amendments to serious impairment of body function.

2/28 Senate Appropriations: Judiciary & Corrections
Agenda: Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals, State Court Administrative Office

Complete Committee Meeting List

Legislation Introduced 2/20– 2/22
Of Interest to the Legal Community
SB 209 Property tax; appeals; alternative start dates for board of review; provide for. Amends sec. 53b of 1893 PA 206 (MCL 211.53b).

SB 233 Appropriations; zero budget; judiciary; provide for fiscal year 2007-2008. Creates appropriation act.

SB 257 Appropriations; judiciary; judiciary budget; provide for fiscal year 2007-2008. Creates appropriation act.

Of General Interest
HJR E Constitutional amendments; state; equal amount of per pupil funding for all local school districts; ensure by certain date. Amends sec. 11, art. IX of the state constitution.

HB 4289 Vehicles; equipment; installation of ignition interlocking device for high blood alcohol content drunk driving convictions; require. Amends secs. 319, 322, 625, 625k, 625l & 904 of 1949 PA 300 (MCL 257.319 et seq.) & adds secs. 20b & 323f.

HB 4135 Retirement; other; MI-retirement plan; create. Creates new act.

SB 273 Children; protection; procedure regarding follow-up to report of child abuse or neglect that involves a licensed or registered facility or home; clarify. Amends sec. 8 of 1975 PA 238 (MCL 722.628).

At the Bar
Detroit Teacher, Students Accept ABA Law Day Activities Award

State News
Senate Republicans Want to Find Other Ways to Cut Prison Costs
(Lansing State Journal, 2/23/07)

House Votes to Repeal State's Drug Liability Law
(Lansing State Journal, 2/23/07)

Quality of Life, Michigan's No-Fault Rule Clash
(Detroit Free Press, 2/21/07)

Governor Granholm: Woman of Firsts Wants to Leave Legacy that Lasts
(Lansing State Journal, 2/21/07)

Links of Interest
Public Policy Resource Center | Michigan Supreme Court | Michigan Legislature | MCL Search Engines