Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
February 22-28, 2010
Volume 8 Issue 9

FOCUS: Department of Justice’s Access to Justice Initiative
The U.S. Department of Justice is forming an Access to Justice initiative to be headed up by Harvard Law School professor Larry Tribe. The office will work with judges, prosecutors, and other criminal justice advocates to find ways to help ensure a meaningful right to counsel.

FOCUS: Ballot Initiative to Enact Mandatory Joint Custody
A ballot initiative that would amend the Child Custody Act of 1970 was recently approved by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. The petition seeks to require the Circuit Court to award joint physical and legal custody if there is a child custody dispute unless there is clear and convincing evidence of unfitness, unwillingness, or inability by either parent to equally parent. The State Bar of Michigan, the Family Law Section, the Judicial Conference, and the Domestic Violence Committee have consistently opposed this proposal when introduced in the legislature. The State Bar has asserted that the proposal would eliminate a judge's ability to weigh the facts and circumstances surrounding a custody hearing. The judge would not have an ability to weigh "best interest" factors.
See also:
SBM Blog—Language of Petition to Amend the Child Custody Act to Create Rebuttable Presumption of Joint Physical Custody Approved

Michigan PAC Wants Mandatory 50/50 Child Custody on the Ballot

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 3/1
3/2 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: Discussion on the Council of State Governments' Justice Reinvestment policy options; SB 826 Modify criteria for community corrections program eligibility; SB 827 Modify criteria for placement on parole and timing of parole dates.

3/2 Senate Appropriations: Judiciary & Corrections
Agenda: Public Testimony of FY 2010-11 Department of Corrections Budget.

3/3 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 5468 Clarify validity of judgment or order created with an electronic record or signature; HB 5036 Limit strategic lawsuits against public participation; SB 719 Allow use of electronic seals on court documents; SB 720 Expand definition of seal to include the use of electronic seals on court documents; SB 760 Remove dueling conviction as basis for parole eligibility to reflect repeal of crime; SB 761 Eliminate sentencing guidelines for crime of dueling; SB 762 Repeal crime of dueling; SB 763 Repeal crime of taking a woman and compelling her to marry; SB 764 Amend sentencing guidelines for crime of taking a woman and compelling her to marry to reflect repeal of crime; SB 765 Repeal crimes related to prizefighting; SB 766 Eliminate sentencing guidelines for crimes related to prizefighting; SB 767 Amend Michigan unarmed combat regulatory act to reflect repeal of crime of prizefighting; and any business properly before this Committee.
SBM Position on SB 719 & SB 720: Support

3/4 House Appropriations: Judiciary
Agenda: The Honorable Marilyn Kelly, chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court; Testimony from the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 2/23–2/25
Of Interest to the Legal Community

HB 5853 Counties; other; methods for public notice disclosure; expand. Amends 1851 PA 156 (MCL 46.146.32) by adding sec. 10d.

HB 5854 Higher education; governing boards; authority to set amount of civil fines for certain civil infractions; revise. Amends sec. 2a of 1967 PA 291 (MCL 390.892a).

HB 5861 Appropriations; zero budget; department of corrections; provide for fiscal year 2010-2011. Creates appropriation act.

HB 5866 Appropriations; zero budget; department of human services; provide for fiscal year 2010-2011. Creates appropriation act.

HB 5867 Appropriations; zero budget; judiciary; provide for fiscal year 2010-2011. Creates appropriation act.

HB 5878 Appropriations; corrections; department of corrections; provide for fiscal year 2010-2011. Creates appropriation act.

HB 5882 Appropriations; human services; department of human services; provide for fiscal year 2010-2011. Creates appropriation act.

HB 5883 Appropriations; judiciary; judiciary budget; provide for fiscal year 2010-2011. Creates appropriation act.

HB 5893 Elections; judicial; option of paying filing fee in lieu of signatures; provide for judicial candidates to district court and circuit court. Amends secs. 413, 414, 415, 424a, 467b, 467d, 467e & 544b of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.413 et seq.).

SB 1141 State financing and management; other; implement section 29 of article IX of the state constitution; provide for, and repeal 1979 PA 101. Creates new act & repeals 1979 PA 101 (MCL 21.23121.244).

SB 1142 Administrative procedure; rules; delegation of legislative authority that exceeds statutory or constitutional prohibition against unfunded mandates; nullify under certain circumstances. Amends secs. 40, 44, 45 & 45a of 1969 PA 306 (MCL 24.240 et seq.).

SB 1143 Civil procedure; civil actions; procedures in actions enforcing section 32 of article IX of the state constitution; revise. Amends sec. 308a of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.308a) & adds secs. 308b, 308c, 308d & 308e.

SB 1153 Appropriations; zero budget; department of corrections; provide for fiscal year 2010-2011. Creates appropriation act.

SB 1158 Appropriations; zero budget; department of human services; provide for fiscal year 2010-2011. Creates appropriation act.

SB 1159 Appropriations; zero budget; judiciary; provide for fiscal year 2010-2011. Creates appropriation act.

In the Hall of Justice
Summer Law Programs for Junior High, High School Students to be Offered by Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center

The Supreme Court will hold a Public Administrative Conference on Thursday, March 11, 2010.

Rule Amendments
2009-07—Amendment of Rules 7.105, 7.204, 7.205, and 7.302 of the Michigan Court Rules
These amendments create a prison mailbox rule, which allow a claim of appeal or application for leave to appeal to be deemed presented for filing when a prison inmate acting pro se places the legal documents in the prison's outgoing mail. The rule applies to appeals from administrative agencies, appeals from circuit court (both claims of appeal and applications for leave to appeal), and appeals from decisions of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court.
Issued: February 25, 2010
Effective: May 1, 2010

At the Bar
Law Day Essay Contest: Deadline March 3

New Trust Account Overdraft Notice Rule (TAON) Takes Effect Sept. 15

United States District Court for the Eastern District Amends Local Court Rules

Sections and Committees
The Animal Law Section submitted Public Policy positions on the following items:
Support: HB 4263 Animals; other; methods of use for euthanizing animals; clarify. Amends 1919 PA 339 (MCL 287.261287.290) by adding sec. 19c.

Support: HB 4803 Animals; other; methods of use for euthanizing animals; clarify. Amends 1919 PA 339 (MCL 287.261287.290) by adding sec. 19c.

Support: HB 5762 Crimes; animals; ownership or possession of nonhuman primates as pets; prohibit under certain circumstances and provide penalty. Amends 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.1750.568) by adding sec. 70a.

Federal News
Court Says Miranda Rights Don't Bar Requestioning
(New York Times, 2/24/10)

State News
Support Grows for Tax Change Amid Fiscal Crisis
(Detroit Free Press, 2/28/10)

Future Michigan Lawmakers Might See Benefit Cut
(Lansing State Journal, 2/25/10)

Dillon: Cuts-Only Budget Talk Inaccurate
(Michigan Messenger, 2/23/10)

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