Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
February 25-March 3, 2013
Volume 11 Issue 9

FOCUS: Sales Tax on Services Under Discussion at State Capitol
This past week several news outlets reported that the legislature is contemplating a sales tax on services as an alternative to the Governor Snyder's proposal for road funding. Although no legislation has been introduced yet, the potential exists that legal services could be included in a sales tax on services. The State Bar of Michigan opposes a sales tax on legal services because it would impede the availability of legal services to society. Most legal services are not discretionary, and a tax on legal services would create an added burden on individuals and businesses already facing significant financial stress and misfortune. Please follow the link below for the complete SBM position on taxing legal services.
State Bar of Michigan Position Statement on Legal Services Tax
Q&A on a Tax on Legal Services

Sales Tax on Services, Increased Fees Pushed to Pay for Mich. Road Repairs
(Detroit News, 2/26/13)
See also:
Michigan Businesses Implore Action on Road Funding
(Lansing State Journal, 2/25/13)
Michigan GOP Lawmakers Consider Service Tax for Road Funding
(WHTC, 2/25/13)

FOCUS: Governor Rick Snyder Appoints Judge David Viviano to the Michigan Supreme Court
Chief Justice Young: New Justice Viviano is "Exceptional" Choice for Court
Macomb County Circuit Judge David Viviano Named to Michigan Supreme Court
(Detroit Free Press, 2/28/13)
Snyder Taps Macomb Judge Viviano for Michigan High Court
(Detroit News, 2/28/13)
Gov. Rick Snyder Appoints Judge David Viviano to Michigan Supreme Court
(, 2/27/13)

FOCUS: Renewal of Violence Against Women Act
An expanded Violence Against Women Act passed the U.S. House last week. The bill has now passed both chambers and is on its way to the President's desk. The President has said that he will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.
In Victory for Obama, House Backs Domestic Violence Law
(New York Times, 2/28/13)
See also:
Violence Against Women Act Passed by House, Sent to Obama for Signature
(Washington Post, 2/28/13)

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 3/4
3/5 House Appropriations: General Government
Agenda: Presentations on FY 2013-14 Executive Budget: Department of Technology, Management, and Budget; Civil Service Commission.

3/5 Senate Appropriations: General Government
Agenda: Department of Technology, Management, and Budget; Civil Service Commission; Michigan Gaming Control Board; Legislative Auditor General.

3/5 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 35 Penalize failure to pay civil fine and costs imposed by a city administrative hearings bureau under certain circumstances;
SB 36 Allow cities to make ineligible for zoning approvals persons delinquent in paying blight violation fines;
SB 37 Allow cities to make ineligible for construction code approval persons delinquent in paying blight violation fines;
SB 38 Provide for garnishment for failure to pay fines or costs ordered under the home rule cities act;
SB 39 Establish power of a home rule city's department of administrative hearings to foreclose on property;
SB 131 Prohibit granting of custody or parenting time for parent convicted of certain sexual offenses;
SB 221 Establish registration fee for nonincarcerated offenders on an annual basis; And any other business properly before the committee.
Family Law Section Position on SB 131: Oppose.

3/5 House Appropriations: Corrections, Joint Meeting with Senate Appropriations: Corrections Department
Agenda: Presentation by the Department of Corrections—Status Report on Requests for Proposals.

3/6 House Criminal Justice
Agenda: HB 4163 Establish penalties for failure to report a missing child or death of a child to law enforcement agencies in a timely manner;
HB 4164 Enact sentencing guidelines; sentencing guidelines for crime of failing to report death of minor or to report child as missing;
HB 4177 Revise reference to vulnerable adult abuse in first degree murder statute; Presentation given by Daniel H. Heyns, Director of the Department of Corrections.

3/6 House Appropriations: Human Services
Agenda: Presentations on Juvenile Justice.

3/6 House Appropriations: Judiciary
Agenda: Overview of the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office, Dawn Van Hoek, Director, State Appellate Defender Office; Overview of the Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System, Thomas M. Harp, Administrator, MAACS.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 2/26–2/28
View all bills introduced 2/26-2/28
Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 4319 Retirement; judges; health reimbursement account; establish, and require contributions under certain circumstances. Amends title & secs. 105, 106, 111, 214, 214a, 217, 305 & 714 of 1992 PA 234 (MCL 38.2105 et seq.) & adds secs. 214b, 309 & 310.

HB 4351 Courts; juries; eligibility to postpone jury service of students; expand to include full-time higher education students. Amends sec. 1335 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.1335).

HB 4356 Family law; child custody; factors determining best interest of the child for permanency decisions by agency and court; provide for. Amends 1939 PA 288 (MCL 710.21–712A.32) by adding sec. 19d to ch. XIIA.

SB 0236 Civil procedure; costs and fees; fee for publication of legal notice; eliminate sunset for annual increases for inflation. Amends sec. 2534 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.2534).

Of General Interest
HB 4314 Civil rights; public records; freedom of information act open government commission; create. Amends 1976 PA 442 (MCL 15.23115.246) by adding sec. 10a.

HB 4330 Occupations; mortuary science; authorization of death record by limited license funeral director; allow. Amends sec. 2843 of 1978 PA 368 (MCL 333.2843).

HB 4336 Family law; child support; age of majority provision regarding child support; expand under certain circumstances. Amends secs. 2 & 5b of 1982 PA 295 (MCL 552.602 & 552.605b).

HB 4354 Torts; medical malpractice; emergency treatment rendered in a hospital; limit liability for. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101600.9947) by adding sec. 2912i.

SB 0221 Criminal procedure; sex offender registration; registration fee for nonincarcerated offenders; establish on an annual basis. Amends sec. 5a of 1994 PA 295 (MCL 28.725a).

SJR N Legislature; legislators; term limits; revise to combination of 12 years' total legislative service. Amends sec. 54, art. IV of the state constitution.

At the Bar
Sections and Committees
The Family Law Section submitted a Public Policy position on the following items:
Support: HB 4054 Family law; other; definition of eligible domestic relations order; modify. Amends sec. 2 of 1991 PA 46 (MCL 38.1702).

Oppose: HB 4120 Family law; child custody; joint custody in every custody dispute between parents; mandate except in certain circumstances. Amends secs. 5 & 6a of 1970 PA 91 (MCL 722.25 & 722.26a).

Oppose: HB 4336 Family law; child support; age of majority provision regarding child support; expand under certain circumstances. Amends secs. 2 & 5b of 1982 PA 295 (MCL 552.602 & 552.605b).

Oppose: SB 131 Family law; child custody; granting of custody or parenting time for parent convicted of certain sexual offenses; prohibit. Amends 1970 PA 91 (MCL 722.21722.31) by adding sec. 5a.

Oppose: SJR F Courts; judges; election of or appointment to a judicial office of person who has reached 70 years of age; remove prohibition. Amends sec. 19, art. VI of the state constitution.

The Prisons & Corrections Section submitted a Public Policy position on the following item:
Support: HB 4189 Corrections; parole; procedures for objection by judge of parole for prisoner; revise. Amends sec. 34 of 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.234).

State News
State Law Makes it Difficult to Commit Mentally Ill; Most of the Time, The System Works, Lawyer Says
(, 3/1/13)

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