Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
January 12–18, 2009
Volume 7 Issue 3

In the Capitol
Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 1/14
Of General Interest

SJR A Legislature; sessions; limitation of legislative session and repeal of term limits for legislators first serving in 2011 or later; provide for. Amends secs. 13 & 54, art. IV of the state constitution.

SB 1 Michigan business tax; rate; surcharge on business tax; phase out. Amends sec. 281 of 2007 PA 36 (MCL 208.1281).

SB 6 Elections; absent voters; permanent absent voter file; provide for. Amends 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.1168.992) by adding sec. 759e.

SB 7 Elections; initiative and referendum; approval of ballot question petition language prior to circulation, checking petitions for duplicate signatures, and penalizing a circulator for knowingly obtaining a signature through fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; provide for. Amends secs. 476 & 482 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.476 & 168.482) & adds secs. 473a & 484.

SB 9 Elections; recall; criteria for recall petition; amend. Amends secs. 951 & 952 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.951 & 168.952).

SB 13 Administrative procedure; rules; state office of administrative hearings and rules; require policy posting of revisions and assessment of impact on the rules in the private sector. Amends sec. 45 of 1969 PA 306 (MCL 24.245) & adds sec. 45b.

In the Hall of Justice
Appellate Court Rule Changes Among Agenda Items from Michigan Supreme Court's January 14 Public Administrative Hearing

Rule Amendments
2005-37—Amendment of Rules 5.105, 5.125, 5.206, 5.302, 5.306, 5.307, 5.309, and 5.403 and New Rule 5.411 of the Michigan Court Rules
These amendments were adopted primarily as a result of submissions by the Michigan Probate Judges Association and the State Bar of Michigan's Probate and Estate Planning Section. This was a joint effort to increase the oversight of guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, as well as to improve other procedures in probate court.
Issued: January 14, 2009
Effective: May 1, 2009

Administrative Orders
Administrative Order 2009-2—File No. 2006-25
On order of the Court, the provisions of the pilot project authorized in Administrative Order No. 2008-1, relating to the use of parenting time plans and nonadversarial language in domestic relations proceedings in the 17th Circuit Court, are continued in effect through February 28, 2011.
Issued: January 14, 2009
Effective: Continued in effect through February 28, 2011.

Proposed Amendments
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.
Issued: January 14, 2009
Comment period expires: May 1, 2009
Public hearing: To be scheduled

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.
Issued: January 14, 2009
Comment period expires: May 1, 2009
Public hearing: To be scheduled

At the Bar
The January 2009 Labor and Employment Law issue of the Michigan Bar Journal is now available online at www.michbar.org/journal.

Gregory Conyers Named SBM Director of Justice Initiatives

FOCUS: The Board of Commissioners met on Friday, January 16, 2009 at which time the State Bar of Michigan adopted the following Public Policy position by a unanimous vote.

ADM File No. 2008-29—Proposed Amendment of Rules 3.901, 3.903, 3.921, 3.965, 3.975, 3.976, 3.977, and 3.978, and New Rule 3.979 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments of Rules 3.901, 3.903, 3.921, 3.965, 3.975, 3.976, 3.977, and 3.978, and new rule 3.979 of the Michigan Court Rules reflect the recent enactment of 2008 PA 199-203.
SBM Position: Defer to the Children's Law Section

Federal News
How Much Should Judges Make?
(New York Times, 1/19/09)

Justices Turn to Rights of Defendants
(New York Times, 1/13/09)

State News
New Michigan House Settles In
(Detroit News, 1/19/09)

Tax Freeze Plan Concerns Officials
(Lansing State Journal, 1/19/09)

Michigan Lawmakers Introduce First Wave of Bills
(The Associated Press, 1/14/09)

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