Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
March 22-28, 2010
Volume 8 Issue 13

SBM Blog Post
Law School Deans: "Michigan's Public Defense System is a Failure"

In the Capitol
Session Schedule: The Michigan House of Representatives and Senate will not hold session the weeks of March 28 and April 4.
House Session Schedule
Senate Session Schedule

Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 3/29
3/29 House Appropriations: Corrections
Agenda: SB 1153 Department of Corrections for Fiscal Year 2010-2011; Review of Senate action on FY 2011 Corrections Budget.

3/31 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 5958 Allow disclosure of certain mortality and morbidity records of prisoners for certain purposes; HB 5959 Provide for legislative corrections ombudsman's access to prisoner health and mortality records; HB 5995 Allow destruction of fingerprint records and arrest card for juveniles who successfully complete probation; HB 5287 Revise provision prohibiting issuance of specified number of traffic citations; and any business properly before this committee.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 3/23–3/25
Of Interest to the Legal Community

HB 5995 Criminal procedure; expunction; destruction of fingerprint records and arrest card for juveniles who successfully complete probation; allow. Amends sec. 3 of 1925 PA 289 (MCL 28.243).

HB 6006 Courts; district court; twentieth and twenty-first districts; combine.

SB 1241 Criminal procedure; sex offender registration; homeless individuals to register; require. Amends sec. 5 of 1994 PA 295 (MCL 28.725).

SB 1246 Human services; children's services; interstate compact for the placement of children; revise. Creates new act & repeals 1984 PA 114 (MCL 3.7113.717).

Of General Interest
HB 5987 Income tax; index; sunset on income tax rate; modify. Amends sec. 51 of 1967 PA 281 (MCL 206.51).

HB 6020 Public employees and officers; ethics; executive branch officials and employees ethics act; create.

HB 6022 Occupations; lobbyists; lobbyist political contribution; restrict delivery.

HB 6023 Campaign finance; campaign practices; ban on acceptance of honoraria by legislators; expand to include statewide elective offices.

HB 6025 Income tax; rate; general amendments; provide for.

In the Hall of Justice
Proposed Amendments
2010-08—(Proposed Administrative Order No. 2010-X)—Proposal to Rescind Administrative Order No. 2003-7 and Adopt Administrative Order No. 2010-X (Caseflow Management Guidelines)
This proposal would update the guidelines contained in Administrative Order 2003-7. The following list summarizes the changes that would be made by the proposed order.
1. Add to the beginning of the order language about good cause for delays and remove related language from specific case categories.
2. Move to the beginning of the order language about matters submitted to judge (this language currently exists at the end of the order).
3. Eliminate all interim guidelines, leaving only initial and final guidelines.
4. Decrease time for adjudicating 90% of mental illness petitions from 14 to 7 days. This time frame would apply to probate and circuit courts.
5. Eliminate guidelines for miscellaneous cases in probate court.
6. Decrease the percentage for preliminary examinations within 14 days from 100% to 80%. Add a 100% guideline for conclusion within 28 days. Extend the goals to include both commencement and conclusion of the examination.
7. Increase the time for adjudicating 90% of divorce cases without children from 91 to 182 days.
8. Increase the time for adjudicating 90% of divorce cases with children from 245 to 301 days.
9. Eliminate guidelines for responding interstate registration cases.
10. Increase the time for adjudicating name change from 91 to 126 days.
11. Increase the time for adjudicating 90% of felony cases from 91 to 154 days.
Issued: March 22, 2010
Comment period expires: July 1, 2010
Public hearing: To be scheduled

At the Bar
SBM to Present "Tips and Tools" for a Successful Practice Seminar on Tuesday, May 4, in Lansing

SBM Partner in Access to Justice Campaign Wins Prestigious National Hunger Award

FOCUS: The Board of Commissioners met on March 26, 2010 at which time the State Bar of Michigan adopted the following Public Policy positions by a unanimous vote:

Legal Services Corporation funding
Request for FY 2011 appropriation.
SBM Position: Support

H.R. 3035: Civil Rights Tax Relief Act of 2009 To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude from gross income amounts received on account of claims based on certain unlawful discrimination and to allow income averaging for backpay and frontpay awards received on account of such claims, and for other purposes.
S.1360: Civil Rights Tax Relief Act of 2009 A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude from gross income amounts received on account of claims based on certain unlawful discrimination and to allow income averaging for backpay and frontpay awards received on account of such claims, and for other purposes.
SBM Position: Support

HB 5468 Communications; technology; validity of judgment or order created with an electronic record or signature; clarify. Amends sec. 7 of 2000 PA 305 (MCL 450.837).
SBM Position: Support if the changes are made to the Revised Judicature Act and not the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act.

HB 5371 Courts; other; certain court fees; exempt prosecuting attorneys from paying. Amends secs. 321 & 2529 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.321 & 600.2529).
SBM Position: Support

HB 5518 Civil procedure; evictions; manner of serving summons and complaint in summary proceedings; revise. Amends sec. 5732 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.5732) & adds sec. 5736.
SBM Position: Oppose. The State Bar may consider future legislation to enact the changes proposed to section 5732 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.5732).

HB 5601 Courts; juries; individuals who fail to return jury questionnaires; ensure continued eligibility for jury service.
SBM Position: Support

HB 5783 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).
SBM Position: Support

SB 0960 (George) Occupations; notaries public; procedure for notary public when witnessing the signature of certain individuals; revise. Amends sec. 25 of 2003 PA 238 (MCL 55.285).
SBM Position: Oppose

Federal Trade Commission Proposed Rule Proposed rule seeking to regulate all providers of "mortgage assistance relief services," including attorneys.
SBM Position: The committee voted unanimously to adopt the ABA position.

FOCUS: The Representative Assembly met on March 27, 2010, at which time the State Bar of Michigan adopted the following Public Policy positions:
Proposed Revision of MRPC 6.1–Voluntary Pro Bono Service
SBM Position: Unanimously adopted the proposed change for recommendation to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Proposed MCR 8.127–Attorney Solicitation
SBM Position: Amended the proposal to include the word "initiate" to read "… a lawyer may not initiate contact or solicit a party …" The proposal was adopted as amended for recommendation to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Sections and Committees
The Business Law Section submitted a Public Policy position on HB 5783 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).

The Negligence Law Section submitted a Public Policy position on HB 5744 Torts; defenses; openness and obviousness of condition; establish as issue of comparative fault only. Amends sec. 2959 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.2959).

The Probate & Estate Planning Section submitted a Public Policy position on a Sales Tax on Legal Services.

State News
Granholm: Sales Tax on Services Needed to Bolster Education
(Detroit News, 3/29/10)

Bill Would Even Out Pay for Public Defenders Working for Accused Criminals
(Mlive.com, 3/29/10)

Legislature Ahead of Last Year's Budget Pace
(Detroit Free Press, 3/28/10)

State Senate's Early-Out Plan May Be Dead
(Detroit News, 3/27/10)

Raise for State Workers Stands
(Detroit News, 3/26/10)

Michigan House Democrats Propose Office Mergers, Benefit Cuts
(Detroit News, 3/25/10)

Michigan Republicans' Budget: $800M in Cuts, No Sales Tax Hike
(Detroit Free Press, 3/23/10)

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