Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
April 27–May 3, 2009
Volume 7 Issue 18

In the Capitol
FYI: Governor's Executive Order on Budget Reductions
On May 5 at 11:00 a.m., State Budget Director Bob Emerson will present the Governor's Executive Order on Budget Reductions to a joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The Executive Order is expected to include $300 million in cuts. The current fiscal year budget deficit is rumored to be close to $1.3 billion. A revenue estimating conference is scheduled for May 15.
Committee Notice
See related:
Deal Reached on $300M in Michigan Budget Cuts
(Detroit News, 5/4/09)
Granholm to Issue List of Budget Cuts
(Detroit Free Press, 5/4/09)
Predicting State Revenue 'A Formidable Task'
(Lansing State Journal, 5/3/09)
Mich. Finds $300M in Cuts
(Lansing State Journal, 5/2/09)

Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 5/4
5/5 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SR 41 A resolution to urge the Michigan Department of Corrections to implement nondenominational prison congregation programs within our prisons.SB 478 Require report to legislature of status of offender tracking system.

5/5 Senate Homeland Security and Emerging Technologies
Agenda: Presentation on identity theft red flag regulations and guidelines under the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003.

5/5 House Appropriations
Agenda Item of Interest: Consideration of Governor's Executive Order on Budget Reductions

5/5 Senate Appropriations: Judiciary & Corrections
Agenda: FY 2009-10 Michigan Department of Corrections budget.

5/6 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 4314 Require appointment of attorney to represent a juvenile in certain proceedings; HB 4518 Amend penalties for certain crimes of imprisonment for life without parole eligibility to exclude application to juvenile offenders; HB 4594 Prohibit sentencing; sentencing individual convicted as a juvenile to imprisonment for life without parole eligibility; HB 4595 Amend probate code of 1939 to prohibit sentencing juvenile to imprisonment for life without parole eligibility; HB 4596 Allow parole of certain juvenile offenders sentenced to imprisonment for life; and any other business properly before this committee

5/8 State Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 4/21–4/23
Of Interest to the Legal Community

HB 4845 Insurance; no-fault; notice and statute of limitations; provide for general amendments. Amends secs. 3141 & 3145 of 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.3141 & 500.3145).

HB 4847 Criminal procedure; expunction; expunction of certain criminal convictions; allow. Amends secs. 1, 1a, 2 & 3 of 1965 PA 213 (MCL 780.621 et seq.) & repeals sec. 4 of 1965 PA 213 (MCL 780.624).

HB 4868 Courts; judges; judges eligible for assignment as visiting judges; include appointed judges with certain years of service. Amends sec. 225 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.225).

HB 4869 Civil procedure; evictions; property managers; allow to represent landlords in eviction proceedings. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101600.9947) by adding sec. 5705.

SB 0473 Courts; other; use of 2-way interactive video technology for certain court proceedings; require whenever possible. Amends sec. 37a, ch. VII of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 767.37a).

SB 0474 Corrections; parole; mandatory conditions for individual to be released on parole; establish. Amends sec. 35 of 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.235).

Of General Interest
HB 4835 Civil rights; general discrimination; sentencing guidelines for bias-motivated crimes; enact. Amends secs. 16g & 21, ch. XVII of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 777.16g & 777.21).

HB 4836 Crimes; other; bias-motivated crime; prohibit and provide penalties. Amends sec. 147b of 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.147b) & adds sec. 377d.

HB 4840 Liens; other; procedures regarding certain fraudulently filed financing statements; revise. Amends secs. 9515, 9516, 9520 & 9521 of 1962 PA 174 (MCL 440.9515 et seq.); adds sec. 9513a & repeals sec. 9501a of 1962 PA 174 (MCL 440.9501a).

HB 4844 Insurance; no-fault; duty to deal fairly; provide for general amendments. Amends 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.100500.8302) by adding sec. 3149.

HB 4851 Civil rights; employment discrimination; discrimination for failing to provide equal compensation for comparable work; prohibit under certain circumstances. Amends secs. 102, 103 & 202 of 1976 PA 453 (MCL 37.2102 et seq.).

HB 4870 Civil procedure; civil actions; action against owner or tenant of a property that is a drug nuisance; allow. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101600.9947) by adding ch. 39.

SB 0471 Property tax; other; penalties for failure to file real property statement within certain time period; impose and earmark. Amends sec. 19 of 1893 PA 206 (MCL 211.19).

SB 0475 State financing and management; purchasing; certain conflicts of interest; prohibit. Amends sec. 261 of 1984 PA 431 (MCL 18.1261).

SB 0476 Corrections; other; competitive bidding process for goods and services used by the department of corrections; require. Amends 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.201791.285) by adding sec. 14a.

SB 0477 Corrections; other; agreements to have Michigan medical schools provide medical services to prisoners; require. Amends 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.201791.285) by adding sec. 67c.

SB 0478 Corrections; other; report to legislature of status of offender tracking system; require. Amends 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.201791.285) by adding sec. 7b.

SB 0479 Corrections; parole; requirement for parole board to annually review prisoners subject to deportation; provide for. Amends sec. 34 of 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.234).

SB 0484 Disabilities; other; fees for licensing interpreters; create fund. Amends 1982 PA 204 (MCL 393.501393.509) by adding sec. 8f.

SB 0486 Civil rights; employment discrimination; equal compensation for comparable work; require. Amends secs. 102, 103 & 202 of 1976 PA 453 (MCL 37.2102 et seq.).

SB 0497 Crimes; other; bias-motivated crime; prohibit and provide penalties.

SB 0498 Civil rights; general discrimination; sentencing guidelines for bias-motivated crimes; enact.

In the Hall of Justice
Supreme Court Learning Center Hosted May 1 Law Day Activities; Tours Emphasized Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's Birth and his Support of Core Democratic Values

The Michigan Supreme Court will hold a public administrative conference on Tuesday, May 12, 2009.
Public Conference Agenda

The Michigan Supreme Court will hold an administrative public hearing on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Supreme Court courtroom located on the sixth floor of the Michigan Hall of Justice, 925 W. Ottawa Street, Lansing, Michigan 48915.
Public Hearing Agenda

To reserve a place on the agenda, please notify the Office of the Clerk of the Court in writing at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, Michigan 48909, or by e-mail at MSC_clerk@courts.mi.gov, no later than Friday, May 8, 2009.

Agenda Items:
2005-05 and 2006-20—Proposed Amendment of Rules 2.403, 2.404, 2.410, 2.411 and 3.216 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments of Rules 2.403, 2.404, 2.410, and 2.411 would revise and update the court rules relating to mediation and case evaluation as recommended by the Dispute Resolution Rules Committee convened by the State Court Administrative Office. The committee's report can be found online. The proposal also contains proposed changes of MCR 3.216 recommended by staff to reflect the changes suggested by the committee of the other rules in the proposal. Please note that the proposed order contains alternative options for MCR 2.403(M)(1). Alternative A, recommended by the committee, would allow subsequent claims to be raised following disposition pursuant to case evaluation, if the claim had not arisen at the time of case evaluation, including in cases that involve personal protection benefits under MCL 500.3101 et seq. Alternative B would allow subsequent claims to be brought only in PIP cases; in all other cases, the acceptance of a case evaluation award would be deemed to dispose of all claims in a case, including any that might arise after case evaluation.
Civil Procedure & Courts Committee Position: Support and Amend
Justice Initiatives Committee Position: Support and Amend

2006-43–Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.112 of the Michigan Court Rules
2007-07–Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.112 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposed amendment would clarify the rules regarding affidavits of merit as expressed in Kirkaldy v Rim, 478 Mich 581 (2007). It would establish a presumption of validity for an affidavit of merit upon filing and would require that a party challenge the sufficiency of an affidavit of merit before it can be determined to be deficient. If a court finds the affidavit deficient, the action would be dismissed. The party would then have the period of time remaining in the statutory limitations period in which to file a complaint with a conforming affidavit of merit.
SBM Position: Oppose and Amend
Civil Procedure & Courts Committee Position: Oppose and Amend

2007-13–Proposed Amendment of Rule 611 of the Michigan Rules of Evidence
This proposed amendment would clarify that a judge is entitled to establish reasonable standards regarding the appearance of parties and witnesses to evaluate the demeanor of those individuals and to ensure accurate identification. The proposal was suggested in response to a case in which a district judge was sued for dismissing a plaintiff's case following the plaintiff's refusal to remove her hijab during testimony. The plaintiff subsequently sued the district judge in federal court, alleging a violation under 42 USC 1983 (Muhammad v Paruk, 553 F Supp 2d 893 [ED Mich, 2008]). The federal court declined to exercise jurisdiction and dismissed the case, which has since been appealed. In declining to exercise jurisdiction, the federal court noted that state court review "would have avoided many of the federalism concerns" cited by the court, which prompted consideration of this proposal by the Michigan Supreme Court.

2008-33—Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.516 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposal, submitted by the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, would require judges to instruct jurors that they are prohibited from using computers or cell phones when they are in attendance at trial or during deliberation, and prohibited from using a computer or other electronic device to obtain information about the case when they are not in the courtroom. It would further require a juror who knows or has reason to know that another juror has violated these prohibitions to inform the judge. The proposal also would prohibit discussion among jurors until deliberation, and would prohibit jurors from reading about or listening to news reports about the case.
SBM Position: Read Statement from Representative Assembly

2008-35—Proposed Amendment of Rule 8.115 of the Michigan Court Rules (Cell Phone Usage in Court Facilities)
Alternative A, submitted by the State Bar of Michigan but with several clarifying revisions, would allow attorneys to bring cell phones into a courthouse, but would limit their use in courtrooms during court proceedings. In addition, the proposal would allow a court to impose sanctions for failure to comply with cell phone usage restrictions. Alternative B, similar to one submitted by the State Bar of Michigan, would allow attorneys to bring cell phones into a courthouse, but would prohibit their use in courtrooms during court proceedings. In addition, the proposal would allow a court to impose sanctions for failure to comply with cell phone usage restrictions.
Civil Procedure & Courts Committee: Offer Amendments

2008-40—Proposed Amendments of Juvenile Court Standards and Administrative Guidelines for the Care of Children Administrative Order No. 1985-5
This proposal would expand the eligible education categories prospective employees (including administrators, supervisory personnel, county juvenile officers, probation officers, caseworkers, and personnel of court-operated child care facilities) must meet to be considered for employment. In addition, the proposal would allow the state court administrator to waive the employment standards if the court provides a reasonable period within which the candidate must meet the education standards, and establishes minimum accreditation requirements.

2008-41—Proposed Amendment of Rule 3.101 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments of MCR 3.101 would add language to protect exempt funds from garnishment and would require financial institutions to provide authority stating why certain funds are exempt.
SBM Position: Support

At the Bar
Chief Justice Kelly Updates Representative Assembly on Court Developments

State Bar of Michigan Offers Free One-Day Training on Working with Pro Bono Clients

SBM Partners with Cooley Law School to Lead Professionalism Orientation Program for New Students

Sections and Committees
The Administrative Law Section submitted a Public Policy report stating its opposition to HB 4799 Public employees and officers; other; restrictions on expenditure of proceeds of lawsuit settlements; establish. Amends sec. 33 of 1846 RS 12 (MCL 14.33).

State News
Detroit Crime Lab's Woes Could Cut Troopers
(Lansing State Journal, 5/4/09)

ACLU Fights for Muslim Women's Right to Testify in Veils
(Detroit Free Press, 5/1/09)

Two Michigan Medical Schools Receptive to Treating Prisoners
(Detroit News, 4/29/09)

State Bills Offer Cost Savings for Prisons
(Detroit News, 4/28/09)

State Senators Offer Prison System Reform Plan
(Detroit Free Press, 4/28/09)

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