November 6-12, 2006
Volume 4 Issue 45

In the Capitol
The Michigan Senate and House of Representatives returned to session on November 9 and will adjourn on November 14. Both chambers will return to session on November 28.
View 2006 Senate Session Schedule
View 2006 House of Representatives Schedule

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 11/9
Of Interest to the Legal Community
SB 1495 Corrections; parole; appointment of attorney for indigent prisoners at certain parole revocation hearings; allow. Amends sec. 40a of 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.240a).

Of General Interest
SB 1494 Property; conveyances; termination of tenancy by the entireties; allow in cases of spousal abandonment. Amends secs. 1 & 2 of 1927 PA 210 (MCL 557.101 & 557.102).

In the Hall of Justice
Voter ID Law's Constitutionality to be Argued Before Michigan Supreme Court

Rule Amendments
2005-22 - Amendment of Rule 3.972 of the Michigan Court Rules
The amendment of MCR 3.972(C)(2) allows testimony of the child to be admitted in a child protective proceeding trial if the statement is offered by a person who heard the child make the statement.
Issued: November 7, 2006
Effective: January 1, 2007

Administrative Orders
Second Amended Administrative Order No. 2004-5 - File Nos. 2002-34 and 2002-44
Expedited Summary Disposition Docket in the Court of Appeals
The Supreme Court orders that the expedited summary disposition docket continue in effect, as modified infra , for an additional one-year period to expire December 31, 2007.
Issued: November 9, 2006
Effective: January 1, 2007

Amendment of Administrative Order No. 1998-1 - File No. 2006-37
This order deleted the requirement in Administrative Order No. 1998-1 for courts to report to the State Court Administrative Office when a case is transferred from circuit court to district court. That requirement was originally adopted to monitor the transfer of cases from circuit court to district court, following the repeal of a statute authorizing the practice. The transfer of cases under MCR 2.227 has been working smoothly and without incident, and no further monitoring is necessary.
Issued: November 7, 2006
Effective: November 7, 2006

Proposed Amendments
2006-29 - Proposed Amendment of Rule 3.411 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposed amendment would clarify that a judgment determining an interest in land does not apply to claims settled under the principle of adverse possession. Under longstanding Michigan case law, interests in lands acquired by adverse possession are effective against all the world, not just those individuals who are parties to the action. See, for example, Lawson v Bishop, 212 Mich 691 (1920), and Gorte v Dep’t of Transp, 202 Mich App 161 (1993).
Issued: November 7, 2006
Comment period expires:March 1, 2007
Public Hearing:To be scheduled

2005-36 - Proposed Amendment of Rules 7.204 and 7.205 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendment of Rule 7.204 of the Michigan Court Rules would make various technical changes. The proposed amendment of Rule 7.205 of the Michigan Court Rules would clarify how a motion for a new trial, a motion for a rehearing or reconsideration, or a motion for other postjudgment relief tolls the time within which to file an application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals.
Issued: November 7, 2006
Comment period expires: March 1, 2007
Public Hearing: To be scheduled

2004-08 - Proposed Amendment of Rule 15 and Proposed New Rule 18 of the Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan
The State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly has endorsed in concept this proposal to adopt amendments of the Rules Concerning the State Bar of Michigan. Proposed new Rule 18 would establish the rules regarding pro hac vice appearance by attorneys in Michigan and would replace Section 2 of current rule 15. This proposal is being published for comment exactly as it was submitted to the Court by the State Bar of Michigan. It has not been amended by the Court before publication.
Issued: November 9, 2006
Comment period expires:  March 1, 2007
Public Hearing: To be scheduled

At the Bar
The State Bar of Michigan’s Public Policy, Image, and Identity Committee and Board of Commissioners will meet on November 17, 2006. For a copy of either agenda, please contact elyon@mail.michbar.org.

Sections and Committees
The Prisons and Corrections Section submitted a public policy report stating its support of HB 6532 (Condino) Criminal procedure; records; criminal conviction overturned based on DNA evidence; provide for deletion of record. Amends sec. 16a, ch. IX of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 769.16a).

Federal News
Courts Weigh In After Voting Difficulties Emerge at the Polls
(Washington Post, 11/8/06)

State News
Experts: Prop 2 Likely to Hold Up
(Detroit News, 11/10/06)

FOCUS: Michigan Votes
View the 2006 General Election Results

3.8 Million Voters Set Off-Year Record
Voting Equipment Passes General Election Test
(Press Release, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, 11/8/06)

Accessible Voting For All
By Kelly Chesney, Michigan Department of State
For most people, voting in an election is a private experience that can be accomplished with no greater obstacle than finding the time to do so. However, for many of Michigan's 1.9 million residents with disabilities, exercising the right to vote has often meant depending on others to cast the ballot for them.

Voting in person, in private and without assistance has always been a difficult if not impossible task for members of the state's disability community. However, during the 2006 primary and general elections, voting has been made easier for these individuals with the implementation of revolutionary voting equipment championed by Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.

A new era in voting for people with disabilities has begun. For the first time in state history, every polling location in Michigan now has voting equipment available that is specially designed to enable members of the disability community to mark their own ballots.

The device is called AutoMARK. It resembles a fax machine with a large flip-up screen and attachments including headphones. The same standard optical scan ballot other voters use is inserted into the system, which then marks the ballot upon input from the voter.

Depending on their needs, voters may mark their ballot without assistance using the screen or Braille keypad. Those with sight impairments may also use magnification and contrast features on the screen to make the ballot easier to read and headphones with an audio function that reads the ballot out loud. In addition, voters have the option of plugging in a foot pedal device, wand or personal sip/puff tube to cast their vote.

When the ballot is completed, it is scanned and stored in the same tabulator with all other ballots. Voters maintain the secrecy of their ballot throughout the process.

More than 4,000 AutoMARK machines have been in operation for the primary and general elections and their use will grow as more voters become aware of this new option.

The features of the AutoMARK enhance the security and integrity of our elections. When voters finish making their selections, the machine gives them the opportunity to review their choices or have them read back before the ballot is tabulated.

Under the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, Michigan and other states were required to have a compliant accessible voting system in place for individuals with disabilities for federal elections in 2006. The $34 million cost to implement the equipment was covered by funds set aside by HAVA.

The new ballot-marking devices were selected after an extensive evaluation process in which staff from the Michigan Department of State, Department of Labor and Economic Growth and Department of Management and Budget met with more than 80 representatives from the disability community and local election officials. AutoMARK was the overwhelming choice of both groups and was cited for its accessibility and ease of use.

The new equipment makes casting ballots easier for voters with disabilities. It also advances their independence and privacy in the voting booth. Ultimately, this helpful technology is giving those with disabilities the opportunity to personally and fully exercise their right to vote, which is a very important step forward for Michigan.

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