November 16- November 22, 2003
Volume 1 Issue 12

In the Capitol
The Michigan House of Representatives and Senate are adjourned until Tuesday, December 2, 2003.

Committee meetings of interest for the week of 11/30.
12/2/03 House Judiciary
Agenda items: HB 4308 Provide for waiver on no proof of insurance violations; HB 5271 Revise provisions concerning number of judges in third judicial circuit.
Complete Committee Meeting List

In the Hall of Justice
Chief Justice: Judges Often Overstep Bounds
View Full Text(, 10/19/03)

At the Bar
State Bar Establishes Judges Hotline

The Board of Commissioners met on Friday,
November 21st.  The following public policy
positions of the State Bar were adopted during
their meeting.

2003-25 - Proposed Amendment of Rules 3.977 and 7.204 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments: 1) shorten the deadline for requesting the appointment of counsel following entry of orders terminating parental rights, 2) impose a new deadline for entry of the order appointing counsel in such cases, 3) impose primary responsibility on the chief judge of the court to ensure that the appointment is timely made, and 4) require the appointment of counsel and the transcript order to be contained on a form that functions as the claim of appeal.
Order entered: July 15, 2003
Comment period expired: November 1, 2003
Public Hearing: Tentatively scheduled for January 29, 2004
POSITION: Oppose in principle.  Although the State Bar is generally supportive of the goal of shortening the length of time from the entry of orders terminating parental rights to appeal of those orders, the State Bar has several concerns about the proposal's provision requiring judges to initiate appeals on behalf of litigants. 
2001-51 Proposed Amendment of Rule 404 of the Michigan Rules of Evidence
The proposals stem from a request of the Task Force on Domestic Violence to amend MRE 404, 803 and 804 concerning evidence in domestic violence cases.  The amendments would address the admissibility of prior acts of domestic violence and hearsay statements of a complainant-declarant.
Order entered: July 16, 2003
Comment period expired: November 1, 2003              
Public Hearing: Tentatively scheduled for January 29, 2004
POSITION: Support in principle - Option A.  The proposed amendment would allow for the admittance of prior acts, which may aid in the successful outcome of domestic violence cases.  Option A would allow for a judge to use discretion in the quantum of evidence.
HB 4208
 - Juveniles; other; procedure in family division of circuit court for truant juveniles; revise and give court jurisdiction over parents and guardians of truants.  TIE BAR WITH HB 4207 and HB 4209
Status: 02/12/03 - Referred to House Education Committee
POSITION: Oppose in principle. Concern was noted on the disparities that would arise across counties.
HB 4260 - Crimes; embezzlement; definition of "persons in a relationship of trust with a vulnerable adult"; clarify.
Status: 02/20/03 - Referred to House Criminal Justice Committee
POSITION: Active support. Also supported by the Legal Aid Committee, this bill would set out in detail who is included in the definition "person in a relationship of trust". Specifically, the term would apply to any person entrusted with responsibility for managing the vulnerable adult's money or property.  This bill would allow for cases where a vulnerable adult is abused to prosecute his/her abuser

    HB 4661 - Courts; district court; district court magistrates who are attorneys; allow to accept guilty or nolo contendere pleas for certain offenses.
    Status: 05/08/03 - Referred to House Judiciary Committee
    POSITION: Support in principle. Currently, there are non-lawyer magistrates.  This bill would encourage magistrates to be licensed attorneys.
    HB 4706 - Records, medical; medical records access act; create.
    HB 4755  - Health; medical records; sanctions for violation of medical records access act; provide for. TIE BAR WITH HB 4706.
    Status: 06/24/03 - Referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee
    POSITION: No position.  Authorization granted to committees to advocate their positions.
    SB 232
    - Criminal procedure; evidence; prior acts of domestic violence; allow to be admissible as evidence.
    SB 233 - Crime victims; statements; hearsay rule; exempt certain statements of domestic violence victims.
    Status: 02/27/03 - Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee
    POSITION: Oppose in principle.  Opposition based on a longstanding State Bar position that any evidentiary changes should be made within the Michigan Rules of Evidence rather than statute.

    Sections and Committees
    The Civil Procedure and Courts Committee submitted the following recommendations for State Bar action on public policy issues.  For a faxed copy of the complete report, please call (517) 346-6325 or email

    HB 4810 Civil procedure; costs and fees; threshold for requiring attorney fee to be paid by party that rejected mediation; revise.
    Oppose adoption of HB 4810.
    SB 689 Torts; malpractice; liability of emergency room physicians; limit in certain circumstances.
    Oppose adoption of SB 689.
    SB 690 Torts; malpractice; statute of limitations extension for fraudulent concealment in medical malpractice action; require plaintiff's sworn statement of facts. TIE BAR WITH SB 692.
    Oppose adoption of SB 690.
    SB 691 Torts; malpractice; affidavit of meritorious defense in medical malpractice action; allow defendant to sign.
    Oppose, with conditions, adoption of SB 691.
    SB 692 Torts; malpractice; extension of statute of limitations for fraudulent concealment; make inapplicable to medical malpractice claim. TIE BAR WITH SB 690.
    Support adoption of SB 692.
    SB 788 Courts; judges; number of judgeships in the seventeenth judicial circuit; increase.
    Support adoption of SB 788.

    The Negligence Law Section submitted the following positions:

    HB 4706 Records; medical; medical records access act; create.
    Support the adoption of HB 4706.
    HB 4755 Health; medical records; sanctions for violation of medical records access act; provide for. TIE BAR WITH HB 4706.
    Support the adoption of HB 4755.
    View complete report

Links of Interest

Public Policy Resource Center
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