September 17-23, 2007
Volume 5 Issue 38

FOCUS: Key Budget Bill Moves to Conference as Negotiations Continue
In a Sunday session that lasted into the early hours of Monday, the Senate passed a bill to reduce spending for state government and schools by $950 million -- $586.5 million short of the projected deficit. The scope of the proposed cuts, estimated to require the layoff of over 2,000 state workers, including 59 from the Judicial budget reduction, met substantial opposition in the House, which declined to move the bill to second reading. The Senate  HB 5194, the vehicle bill to enact an income tax increase, back to the House, which then sent the bill to a conference committee where a compromise is expected to be hammered out. Also Sunday evening, the House unanimously passed HB 5104, which would enact clean-up changes to the Michigan Business Tax, including provisions for dealing with deferred tax liabilities, but tie-barred the bill to HB 5194.
Last Updated: September 24, 10 a.m.
State Bar Provides Daily Budget Updates on Public Policy  Resource Center

FOCUS: Habeas Corpus Rights for Foreigners Vote
On September 19, the Senate voted 56-43 to deny cloture on an amendment offered by Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy to the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill. It required 60 votes to pass. “A law enacted last year (PL 109-366) setting the ground rules for military commissions to try enemy combatants explicitly barred federal courts from hearing legal challenges to detention by enemy combatants or detainees awaiting a determination as to whether they are enemy combatants. The Leahy-Specter amendment to the defense authorization bill (HR 1585) would have removed that prohibition.” The issue is unlikely to be debated on the Senate floor this year, according to Keith Perine writing for CQ Today.

In the Capitol
Committee meetings of interest for the week of 9/24
9/25 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 158 Include committing act likely to cause physical harm to a child in definition of child abuse; SB 291 Create gang felony crimes; SB 292 Enact sentencing guidelines for gang felonies; SB 660 Prohibit gang activity and provide penalties; SB 661 Enact sentencing guidelines for crimes involving gangs and assign 50 points under offense variable 13 under certain circumstances; SB 760 Revise sentencing guidelines for child abuse in the third degree to reflect citation change.
SBM Position: Actively Oppose SB 291
Criminal Jurisprudence and Practice Committee Position: Oppose SB 291

9/25 Senate Appropriations
Agenda items of interest: HB 4861 Revise fees to court of appeals.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 9/17 - 9/23
Of Interest to the Legal Community

HB 5245 Employment security; benefits; disqualification from receiving benefits when leaving employment; create exception for domestic violence victim. Amends 1936 (Ex Sess) PA 1 (MCL 421.1 - 421.75) by adding sec. 28b.

HB 5250 Insurance; essential; essentials insurance act; enact. Amends sec. 2111 of 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.2111).

HB 5258 Businesses; limited liability companies; filing fees; revise.

SB 786 Civil procedure; civil actions; limitation on recovery amount allowed in small claims suits; revise. Amends sec. 8401 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.8401).

Of General Interest
HB 5253 Income tax; rate; single business tax references, rate provisions, and decoupling from federal accelerated depreciation; provide for. Amends secs. 30, 51, 261, 266 & 270 of 1967 PA 281 (MCL 206.30 et seq.) & repeals secs. 51c, 51d & 51e of 1967 PA 281 (MCL 206.51c et seq.).

HB 5254 Use tax; rate; general amendments; provide for. Amends secs. 3a, 4, 4a, 4d, 4g, 4k, 4l, 4o, 4x & 9a of 1937 PA 94 (MCL 205.93a et seq.).
HB 5255 Sales tax; rate; general amendments; provide for. Amends secs. 2, 4a, 4g, 4i, 4m, 4r, 4t, 4x, 4aa & 6a of 1933 PA 167 (MCL 205.52 et seq.).

SB 777 Income tax; rate; income tax rate and personal exemption; increase. Amends secs. 30 & 51 of 1967 PA 281 (MCL 206.30 & 206.51) & repeals secs. 51c, 51d & 51e of 1967 PA 281 (MCL 206.51c et seq.).

In the Hall of Justice
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.

Agenda items of interest:
2002-37 Proposed Adoption of New Rules 2E.001 et seq. of the Michigan Court Rules (Electronic Filing)
Published at 477 Mich 1297-1301 (Part 3, 2007).

Issue:  Whether to adopt the proposed new rules to establish standards that would govern electronic filing of documents in state courts.
SBM Position (7/30/07)
SBM Position (9/17/07)

2005-31 Proposed Adoption of the Amendment of Rule 3.602 of the Michigan Court Rules
Published at 477 Mich 1294-1296 (Part 3, 2007).

Issue:  Whether to adopt the proposed amendment of Rule 3.602 relating to arbitration actions that would  (1) eliminate the word “application” and substitute instead the word “motion” or “complaint” depending on whether there is an action pending, and (2) clarify that a complaint to stay or compel arbitration, or to vacate, modify, or correct an award must first be filed, and then a motion, consistent with MCR 3.602(B)(1), must be filed.  The amendment also would require that a motion to vacate, modify, or correct an award be filed within 91 days (with exceptions for claims that an award is based on corruption, fraud, or other undue means, in which the current 21-day filing period would continue to apply), to be consistent with the time frames allowed under the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 USC 1 et seq. 

2006-44 Proposed Adoption of the Amendment of Rule 7.306 of the Michigan Court Rules
Published at 477 Mich 1286-1288 (Part 3, 2007).

Issue:  Whether to adopt one of the proposed amendments (A or B) that would alter the requirements for filing amicus briefs with the Michigan Supreme Court.  Proposal A would add a provision similar to Rule 37.4 of the rules of the United States Supreme Court to allow state agencies and attorneys operating on behalf of public agencies to submit an amicus curiae brief without filing a motion seeking permission to do so. Proposal B includes the same proposed change, but, in addition, would allow an amicus curiae 28 days after the filing of the appellee’s brief to file its amicus curiae brief unless the Court directs otherwise.
SBM Position: Support Proposal B 

2007-12: Proposed Adoption of the Amendment of Rule 2.107 of the Michigan Court Rules
Published at 477 Mich 1301-1302 (Part 3, 2007).

Issue:  Whether to adopt the proposed amendment of MCR 2.107 that would add a provision to allow parties to exchange pleadings and other papers electronically.
State Bar Position: Support amendment that would allow attorneys to stipulate to serve documents upon each other via electronic mail.  Support amendment that would add additional language: “The date of the pleadings are filed, which includes receipt by mail, shall be noted on the docketing statement if different than the date docketed.”
SBM Position (9/17/07)

Rule Amendments
2006-19 - Amendments of Administrative Order No. 1998-5
Issued: September 18, 2007
Effective: October 1, 2007

Proposed Amendments
2006-06 - Proposed Amendment of Rule 7.215 of the Michigan Court Rules
The September 18, 2007, proposed amendment of MCR 7.215 reflects revisions recommended by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The amendment would shift responsibility for making an “outcome-determinative” assessment from the entire bench to the panel deciding the case in which the conflict is raised. The amendment would also require the panel to state the disposition it would have reached had it not been required to follow the prior published decision.
Issued: September 18, 2007
Comment period expires: January 1, 2008

Appointments and Other Actions
2007-01 - Appointment of Chief Judge of the Berrien County Trial Court
Issued: September 18, 2007

At the Bar
2007 Economics of Law Practice Survey Preliminary Results are Now Available

State News
Recent State Budget News:
Senate-Approved Plan Would Save $900M
(Lansing State Journal, 9/24/07)

The Pressure is Building in Lansing
(Detroit News, 9/24/07)

Senate Passes Big Cut
(Detroit Free Press, 9/24/07)

County Mental Health Court on Horizon
(The Flint Journal, 9/20/07)

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