January 29 - February 4, 2007
Volume 5 Issue 5

FOCUS: The Fiscal State in Michigan
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm will deliver her State of the State address on Tuesday, February 6. State Budget Director Bob Emerson will then present the Governor’s 2008 budget recommendations on Thursday, February 8. The state is facing an estimated $722-900 million deficit in the current fiscal year and the question of how to replace revenue currently being collected from the Single Business Tax, scheduled to expire December 31, is still undecided.
Press Release: Granholm Underscores Depth of State's Fiscal Crisis
See Related: Crucial Week Awaits Governor, Michigan (Detroit News, 2/5/07)

Among the most widely discussed options for addressing the fiscal situation has been a proposal to decrease in the sales tax while broadening the base to include services. Bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate have both publicly stated that they do not intend to pursue such a proposal. The State Bar has been active in its advocacy against a tax on legal services. Look for an update in next week’s Public Policy Update.
State Bar of Michigan’s Position Statement on a Tax on Legal Services

In the Capitol
Committee meetings of interest for the week of 2/5
2/7 House Judiciary
Agenda: Organizational meeting and Presentation on Sentencing Guidelines

2/8 Joint House and Senate Appropriations
Agenda: Presentation of FY 2008 Executive Budget Recommendations by Bob Emerson, State Budget Director

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 1/30 - 2/1
Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 4147 Family law; child support; termination of child support obligations when DNA evidence demonstrates payer is not the biological parent; provide for. Amends 1982 PA 295 (MCL 552.601 - 552.650) by adding sec. 5f.

HB 4150 Courts; juries; option of juries in criminal trials comprised of residents of same municipality in which defendant resides; provide for in cities of over 750,000. Amends secs. 1321 & 1324 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.1321 & 600.1324).

HB 4174 Family law; parenting time; electronic visitation; allow court to order for parents and grandparents. Amends secs. 7a, 7b & 11 of 1970 PA 91 (MCL 722.27a et seq.).

HB 4180 Probate; powers of attorney; uniform power of attorney act; enact. Creates new act & repeals secs. 5501 - 5505 of 1998 PA 386 (MCL 700.5501 - 700.5505).

HB 4184 Corrections; alternatives; special alternative incarceration programs for prisoners; revise eligibility requirements. Amends sec. 34a of 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.234a).

HB 4189 Property tax; assessments; transfer of ownership resulting from the termination of a joint tenancy; revise. Amends sec. 27a of 1893 PA 206 (MCL 211.27a).

HB 4193 Corrections; prisoners; commutation hearings and procedures; expedite for prisoners who are terminally ill. Amends secs. 35 & 44 of 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.235 & 791.244).

SB 103 Housing; landlord and tenants; early lease termination; allow for certain victims of domestic assault. Amends 1972 PA 348 (MCL 554.601 - 554.616) by adding sec. 1b.

SB 105 Courts; state court administration; authority for magistrates to oversee arraignments; allow. Amends secs. 8511 & 8513 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.8511 & 600.8513).

SB 106 Torts; malpractice; affidavit of merit; require for professional malpractice action against architect or engineer. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101 - 600.9947) by adding sec. 2912i.

SB 123 Businesses; nonprofit corporations; use of electronic communications; allow for nonprofit corporations. Amends secs. 106, 133, 141, 143, 151, 404, 405, 407, 413, 441, 446, 451, 521, 525, 1103 & 1144 of 1982 PA 162 (MCL 450.2106 et seq.) & adds sec. 406a.

SB 124 Insurance; no-fault; definition of "serious impairment of body function"; modify. Amends sec. 3135 of 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.3135).

SB 141 Children; services; court-appointed special advocates; provide for. Creates new act.

SB 145 Civil procedure; civil actions; installing spyware or adware onto another individual's computer without consent; prohibit and provide remedies for. Creates new act.

Of General Interest
HB 4160 Civil rights; general discrimination; sexual orientation and gender identity or expression; include as categories protected under the Elliott-Larsen civil rights act. Amends title & secs. 102, 103, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 209, 302, 302a, 402, 502, 504, 505 & 506 of 1976 PA 453 (MCL 37.2102 et seq.).

SB 128 Campaign finance; public funding; public financing for certain supreme court candidates; provide for. Amends secs. 3, 5, 7, 10 & 11 of 1976 PA 388 (MCL 169.203 et seq.) & adds secs. 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 103, 105, 107, 108 & 109.

In the Hall of Justice
Other Actions
2007-01 - Appointment of Chief Judge of the 46th Judicial District Court
The Honorable Susan M. Moiseev is appointed chief judge of the 46th Judicial District Court effective February 1, 2007 for the unexpired position of a two-year term, which commenced January 1, 2006.
Issued: January 30, 2007
Effective: February 1, 2007

At the Bar
Website on Prison Re-Entry Issues Launched

Federal News
FEC to Police '527' Groups' Campaign Activities
(Washington Post, 2/2/07)

Florida Shifting to Voting System With Paper Trail
(New York Times, 2/1/07)

States Revisiting Electoral College 
(Washington Times, 1/31/07)

State News
Senate Leader Looks for Common Ground in Dems' Territory Legislature
(Detroit Free Press, 2/5/07)

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