September 10-16, 2007
Volume 5 Issue 37

FOCUS: Federal Law School Loan Forgiveness Act
H.R.2669 College Cost Reduction and Access Act.
Congress has sent President Bush a new federal law that will provide a loan forgiveness program for all public interest lawyers. H.R.2669 would allow students with most federal and federally-backed loans to access loan forgiveness under the William Ford Direct Lending Program. This opportunity will be offered to prosecutors, public defenders, and those who provide “legal advocacy in low income communities at nonprofit organizations.” According to Kenneth Goldsmith, legislative counsel with the American Bar Association, it appears that the act may also cover attorneys who represent disabled individuals. The Education Secretary will set boundaries on “public interest law services.” The program includes separate job categories for government, military, and for 501(C)3s, which may also be included in the act.

It is anticipated that the Act will become law by October 1.
More Information: Federal Student Loan Repayment Assistance for Public Interest Lawyers and Other Employees of Governments and Nonprofit Organizations by Philip G. Schrag, Georgetown University – Law Center

In the Capitol
Budget Update:
The Michigan House of Representatives opened session on Friday, Sept. 14 at 10:00 am and remained in session for the entire weekend. The House considered two constitutional amendments that would have put before voters an increase in the sales tax to 7% (HJR X, Cushingberry) and a graduated income tax (HJR Z, Smith, A.). No official votes were recorded on either constitutional amendments.

The House spent the majority of the weekend session considering an increase in the income tax, raising it from 3.9% to 4.6% as proposed in HB 5194 (H1), sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Steve Tobocman. The bill would be tie-barred to HJR X. If voters approved HJR X, the income tax level would return to 3.9%. The last vote tally on HB 5194 showed 48 House members, all Democrats, voting yes.

The only other vote taken over the weekend was on SB 229 (Pappageorge), as substituted by Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, to enact various budget cuts. That vote failed 0-105.

See Related:
No Deal in House for Tax Increase
(Detroit Free Press, 9/17/07)

Senate Tackles Budget Today
(Detroit News, 9/17/07)

Budget Deadlock Persists in House
(Lansing State Journal, 9/16/07)

House Struggles with Tax-Hike Vote
(Lansing State Journal, 9/15/07)

Tax Votes Expected
Shutdown would be Big Aggravation
Options to Fill the Budget's Black Hole
Tax Hikes vs. Spending Cuts: Fear, Politics are Behind Fight
(Detroit News, 9/14/07)

Democrats' Bid to Get Sales Tax Hike on Ballot Fails
(Detroit News, 9/13/07)

Both the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate have revised their session schedules to reflect additional session days for September.
View House Session Schedule
View Senate Session Schedule

Committee meetings of interest for the week of 9/17
9/18 Senate Families and Human Services
Agenda: SB 668 Clarify termination of parental rights and parenting time; SB 669 Clarify permanency plan and permanent placement of a child; SB 670 Revise notice regarding termination of parental rights; SB 671 Allow alternate permanency plan to be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunify child and family; SB 672 Require review of permanency plan.

9/19 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 4616 Clarify prohibition on embryonic research and human cloning; HB 4617 Increase penalties for human cloning; HB 4618 Revise sentencing guidelines for crime of human cloning to reflect increased penalty.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 9/11 - 9/14
Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 5213 Criminal procedure; expunction; record expungement for certain offenders; provide for.

HB 5236 Appropriations; zero budget; judiciary; provide for fiscal year.

Of General Interest
HB 5216 Human services; medical services; liability for false or fraudulent claims to the medicaid program; revise.

HB 5217 Revenue sharing; other; revenue sharing freeze; extend for fiscal year 2008.

HJR X Sales tax; rate; sales tax rate; amend constitution to increase. Amends sec. 8, art. IX of the state constitution.

SB 758 Elections; voters; photo identification or affidavit required before being given a ballot at an election; eliminate. Amends sec. 523 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.523).

SB 759 Labor; fair employment practices; whistleblowers' provision; extend to health care employees. Amends sec. 20180 of 1978 PA 368 (MCL 333.20180).

SB 764 Sales tax; rate; general amendments; provide for. Amends secs. 2 & 6a of 1933 PA 167 (MCL 205.52 & 205.56a).

SB 765 Sales tax; rate; general amendments; provide for. Amends secs. 2 & 6a of 1933 PA 167 (MCL 205.52 & 205.56a).

SB 766 Use tax; exemptions; certain exemptions; eliminate. Amends title & secs. 3a & 5 of 1937 PA 94 (MCL 205.93a & 205.95).

SB 767 Use tax; exemptions; certain exemptions; eliminate. Amends title & secs. 3a & 5 of 1937 PA 94 (MCL 205.93a & 205.95).

SB 768 Use tax; rate; general amendments; provide for. Amends secs. 3 & 4a of 1937 PA 94 (MCL 205.93 & 205.94a).

SB 769 Use tax; rate; general amendments; provide for. Amends secs. 3 & 4a of 1937 PA 94 (MCL 205.93 & 205.94a).

SB 772 Appropriations; other; interim fiscal year appropriations for 2007-2008; provide for. Creates appropriation act.

SB 773 Appropriations; school aid; interim fiscal year appropriations for part of 2007-2008; provide for. Amends secs. 8b, 11, 11j, 17b, 39a & 147 of 1979 PA 94 (MCL 388.1608b et seq.) & repeals secs. 41a, 54b & 98b of 1979 PA 94 (MCL 388.1641a et seq.).

In the Hall of Justice
U.S. Constitution is Focus of Michigan Government TV Interview with Chief Justice Taylor; Program Offered as Constitution Day Study Aid

Historic Lapeer Courthouse to be Setting for Oral Argument Before Michigan Supreme Court 

The Michigan Supreme Court will hold an administrative public hearing on Wednesday, September 26, 2007, 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 to MSC_clerk@courts.mi.gov, no later than Monday, September 24, 2007.

Other Actions
2007-01 - Supreme Court Appointments to the Attorney Grievance Commission
Issued: September 11, 2007

At the Bar
Dues Statements to be Mailed September 20

The State Bar of Michigan’s Annual Meeting will be held September 26 - 28 in Grand Rapids.

View Information

The last meeting of the 2006-2007 Board of Commissioners and the first meeting of the 2007-2008 Board of Commissioners will take place on Wednesday, September 26. The Representative Assembly will meet on Thursday, September 27.

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