March 26-April 1, 2007
Volume 5 Issue 13

FOCUS: Tax on Legal Services
Although SB 307, which would impose a 2% tax on services, including legal services, was defeated in the Senate on March 22, a tax on services remains one of the many options under consideration by the legislature in response to the state’s economic situation. Among the options under discussion to replace the Single Business Tax are a gross receipts tax or a 6% tax on selected services.
The State Bar continues to urge its members to be involved in communicating their views on how the legislature should address the state’s very serious budget crisis, including their views on how the various proposals would impact the public’s access to legal services.

In the Capitol
The Michigan Senate and House have revised session schedules for the first two weeks in April. The Michigan Senate will tentatively meet only on Wednesday, April 4 and Wednesday April 11 at 10:00 am. The Michigan House will tentatively meet only on Thursday, April 5 and Thursday, April 12 at noon.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 3/27 – 3/28
Of Interest to the Legal Community

HB 4548 Parole guidelines; corrections; parole; certain improvements and enforcements of parole guidelines; provide for. Amends secs. 33e, 34 & 35 of 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.233e et seq.).

SB 374 Estate recovery; estate recovery program for medicaid; implement. Amends 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.1 - 400.119b) by adding secs. 112g, 112h, 112i & 112j. TIE BAR WITH : SB 0203'07, SB 0204'07

HJR I  Criminal procedure; bail; no-bond violations; expand to include attempted murder. Amends sec. 15, art. I of the state constitution. Amends sec. 15, Article I.

In the Hall of Justice
Appointments to Michigan Court Reporting and Recording Board of Review Announced by Michigan Supreme Court

Rule Amendments
2006-31 - Amendment of Rule 9.227 of the Michigan Court Rules
This amendment extends immunity from civil suit for statements or communications made to agents of the Judicial Tenure Commission, and adds agents to the individuals who are immune from civil suit for conduct in the course of their official duties with the commission.
Issued: March 27, 2007
Effective: May 1, 2007

Proposed Amendments
2005-31 - Proposed Amendments of Rule 3.602 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments from the State Bar of Michigan contain two material revisions. First, the proposed changes eliminate the term “application,” and substitute the word “motion” or “complaint,” depending on whether there is a pending action. “Application” is not a defined term within the Michigan Court Rules or in the Michigan arbitration act, MCL 600.5001-600.5035.
Second, the proposed revision clarifies that a complaint to stay or compel arbitration, or to vacate, modify, or correct an award must first be filed, and then a motion, consistent with the spirit of MCR 3.602(B)(1), must be filed. The amendments also sets timing deadlines consistent with the time frame allowed under the federal arbitration act, 9 USC 1 et seq. Under the proposal, a motion to vacate, modify, or correct an award would have to be filed within 91 days (except for claims that an award is based on corruption, fraud, or other undue means, in which case the current 21-day filing period after the grounds were known or should have been known would apply). Three months is the period allowed under the federal arbitration act for a party to bring a motion to vacate, modify, or correct an arbitration award. The proponents assert that the three-month period under the federal act and the 21-day period in MCR 3.602(J)-(K) create confusion with regard to the applicable period in cases that may start as state actions but eventually be removed to federal court on petition of one of the parties.
Issued: March 27, 2007
Comment period expires : July 1, 2007
Public Hearing: To be scheduled

Other Actions
2007-01 - Appointment to the Michigan Court Reporting and Recording Board of Review
Issued: March 27, 2007

At the Bar
FOCUS: The Board of Commissioners met on Friday, March 30, 2007. The following public policy positions were adopted by the State Bar of Michigan:

ADM File No. 2006-33 - Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.116 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments of MCR 2.116 would clarify that motions for summary disposition based on governmental immunity or lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be filed even if the time set for filing dispositive motions in a scheduling order has expired. Defects in subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be waived and may be raised at any time. People v Erwin, 212 Mich App 55, 64; 536 NW2d 818 (1995); People v Richards, 205 Mich App 438, 444; 517 NW2d 823 (1994). Likewise, governmental immunity may be raised at any time. See Mack v Detroit, 467 Mich 186, 197 n 13 (2002).
The amendments would also clarify that it is within the court’s discretion to allow a motion for summary disposition to be considered for motions based on the grounds set out in (C)(8), (C)(9), or (C)(10) if it is filed after the period for dispositive motions established in a scheduling order has expired. This clarification would reflect the holding in People v Grove, 455 Mich 439 (1997), that it was within the trial court’s discretion to decline to accept a plea agreement offered after the date for accepting such an agreement set forth in the scheduling order had passed.
SBM Position: Support, with clarifying amendments recommended by the Civil Procedure and Courts committee.

ADM File No. 2006-40 - Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.222 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendment of MCR 2.222(D)(1) would require the party who moved for change of venue to prove that the statutory filing fee was paid to the court in which the action is transferred before the order changing venue is entered.
SBM Position: Support provided that language recommended by the Michigan Association of Circuit Court Administrators is incorporated.

HB 4368 (Cushingberry) Sales tax; collections; tax on services and admission transmission transactions; provide for. Creates new act.
SB 307 (Brater) Sales tax; collections; tax on services and admission transmission transactions; provide for. Creates new act.
SBM Position: Actively Oppose the bills to the extent legal services are taxed

HB 4208(Spade) Disabilities; qualified interpreter for deaf or deaf-blind individual; define and provide in certain circumstances. Amends title & secs. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 of 1982 PA 204 (MCL 393.502 et seq.) & adds secs. 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 8a & 8b.
SBM Position: Support in Principle

SB 115 (Garcia) Courts; state court administration; authority for magistrates to oversee arraignments; allow. Amends secs. 8511 & 8513 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.8511 & 600.8513).
SBM Position: Support in Principle

Judicial Vacancy – 29th Circuit Court
Hon. Jeffrey L. Martlew is vacating his seat on the 29 th Circuit Court. State Bar members interested in applying for the judgeship should submit an application by May 8 2007.
View Information

PMRC Technology Seminar in Grand Rapids for Legal Professionals

Sections and Committees
The Probate and Estate Planning Section submitted the following public policy report:
Support the comments submitted by the Michigan Probate Judges Association : 2005-37 - Proposed Amendment of Rules 5.101, 5.105, 5.113, 5.125, 5.206, 5.302, 5.306, 5.307, 5.309, and 5.403 of the Michigan Court Rules and Proposed Adoption of Rules 5.410 and 5.411 of the Michigan Court Rules. The amendments are published in response to a proposal submitted by the Michigan Probate Judges Association and the State Bar of Michigan’s Probate and Estate Planning Section. This was a joint effort to increase the oversight of guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, as well as to improve other procedures in probate court.

Federal News

U.S. Supreme Court denies Michigan High School Athletic Association appeal of gender equity case affecting girls’ prep seasons
(Grand Rapids Press, 4/2/07)

U.S. Supreme Court says Clean Air Act gives Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from cars
(New York Times, 4/2/07)

Court denies appeal from Guantanamo detainees
(Washington Post, 4/2/07)

State News

Granholm to Staff: Prepare for Partial State Government Shutdown
(Detroit Free Press, 3/28/07)

State's prison health-care costs bust budget
(Kalamazoo Gazette, 4/2/07)

Genesee County tax proposed to fund an Office of Public Guardian
(Flint Journal, 4/1/07)

Arizona case focuses attention on FBI policy against taping of confessions
(New York Times, 4/2/07)

Coalition Lawsuit Challenges Indigent Criminal Defense in Michigan
(Flint Journal, 4/2/07)

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