Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
February 27–March 4, 2012
Volume 10 Issue 9

FOCUS: Governor Rick Snyder Signs Bills Reducing Judgeships
On February 28, Governor Snyder signed six bills that will eliminate certain judgeships, which is in addition to the eight bills signed on February 20. This concludes enacting the trial level judges recommended for elimination by attrition in the State Court Administrative Office made the reduction recommendations in its August 2011 Judicial Resources Report.

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 3/5
3/5 House Appropriations: Community Health
Agenda Item of Interest: Fiscal Year 2012-13 and Fiscal Year 2013-14 Executive Budget Recommendation: Crime Victim Services Commission.

3/6 House Redistricting and Elections
Agenda Item of Interest: HB 5058 Limit expenditures by candidate committees to defend certain officials in criminal or civil actions.

3/6 House Appropriations: Community Health
Agenda Item of Interest: Fiscal Year 2012-13 and Fiscal Year 2013-14 Executive Budget Recommendation: Crime Victim Services Commission.

3/6 Senate Appropriations: Human Services Department
Agenda: The subcommittee will hear public testimony on the Governor's recommended FY 2012-13 budget for the Department of Human Services.

3/6 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 933 Exclude medical marihuana expenses incurred to treat work-related injury from reimbursement requirements; HB 5050 Prohibit providing false information to peace officer conducting criminal investigation, and provide penalties; HB 5051 Enact sentencing guidelines for crime of providing false information to a peace officer conducting a criminal investigation; And any other business properly before the committee.

3/6 House Appropriations: Corrections
Agenda: MDOC Review of prison population projections; MDOC presentation on Correctional Facilities Administration and prison operations.

3/8 House Judiciary
NOTE TIME CHANGE: Agenda: HB 4834 Require photograph on medical marihuana card; HB 4851 Clarify definition of bona fide physician-patient relationship; HB 4853 Implement sentencing guidelines for crime of selling or providing medical marihuana to unprescribed user; HB 4856 Allow transporting medical marihuana in motor vehicle under certain circumstances; Matters Unrelated to Medical Marijuana: Refer to the committee on Agriculture: HB 4866 Limit civil liability for personal injury and property damage in farm markets; Refer to the committee on Commerce: HB 4864 Prohibit obtaining service or property by fraud or deception, and provide penalties; HB 4865 Enact sentencing guidelines for obtaining service or property by fraud or deception.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 2/28–3/1
View all bills introduced 2/28–3/1
Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 5449 Law enforcement; investigations; law enforcement agencies to obtain consent or a search warrant to access or disclose certain location information obtained through GPS system; require. Amends secs. 539l & 540 of 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.539l & 750.540).

SB 1000 Family law; parenting time; parenting time in a country not a party to the Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction; prohibit. Amends sec. 7a of 1970 PA 91 (MCL 722.27a).

In the Hall of Justice
'Family Joyriding' at Issue in Auto Insurance Cases Before Michigan Supreme Court in Oral Arguments This Week

At the Bar
SBM Presented "Lawyer Trust Accounts: Management Principles & Recordkeeping Resources" Seminar

FOCUS: The Executive Committee met on February 28, 2012 during which the following positions were taken:
2005-11—Proposed Alternative Amendments of the Code of Judicial Conduct
Two alternative proposals are published for comment in this order. The first, Alternative A, combines Canon 4 and Canon 5 so that the obligations imposed with regard to extrajudicial activities are the same for both law-related and nonlaw-related functions. The proposal also clarifies various allowed and prohibited fundraising activities.

The second proposal is modeled loosely on the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct. The most recent iteration of the ABA Model Code splits the existing language of Michigan's Canon 4 through Canon 6 into 15 separate rules. For purposes of the proposed language of Alternative B, however, the separate model rules are combined in the proposed revised text of Michigan's current two Canons, and would retain nearly all the language that currently exists in Canon 4 and Canon 5. But the proposal is similar to the ABA Model Code in that proposed Canon 4 would begin with a description of the underlying foundational requirements for any extrajudicial activities (i.e., participation in the activity must not undermine the judge's independence, integrity, or impartiality) and other general requirements, and then would set out the allowed fundraising and other financial activities in Canon 5.

Either proposal would eliminate the language of Canon 7 that prohibits a judge from accepting a testimonial, and would clarify Canon 2 so that activities allowed under Canon 4 and Canon 5 would not be considered a violation of the principle of use of the prestige of office. Both proposals contain proposed language that is intended to clarify the scope of activities in which a judge may participate, especially if those activities also serve a fundraising purpose. In Alternative A, this language is included at Canon 4D; in Alternative B, this language is included at Canon 5A(3).
SBM Position: Support Alternative B with Recommended Amendments.

2010-26—Proposed Amendment of Rule 7.210 and Rule 7.212 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments of MCR 7.210 and MCR 7.212 would extend the time period in which parties may request that a court settle a record for which a transcript is not available and would clarify the procedure for doing so.
SBM Position: Support with Recommended Amendments.

Sections and Committees
The Probate & Estate Planning Section submitted Public Policy reports on the following items:
Support and Amend: House Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 0092 Probate; powers of attorney; written acknowledgment of responsibilities by agent appointed under a power of attorney; require. Amends sec. 5501 of 1998 PA 386 (MCL 700.5501).

Oppose: Substitute S-1 SB 0907 Property tax; principal residence exemption; exemption for trust-owned property; revise. Amends sec. 7dd of 1893 PA 206 (MCL 211.7dd).

Federal News
Thirty Years After Congress Pushed for Fair Results, Federal Sentences Still Vary Widely
(Mlive.com, 3/4/12)

State News
Treating Veterans: Macomb County Starting Specialized Court to Help Veterans Charged with Crimes
(Macomb Daily, 3/5/12)

Federal Judge Blocks Michigan Labor Law
(Lansing State Journal, 3/2/12)

Attorney General Schuette's Plan Would Prompt Millions of Dollars in New Prison Spending
(Mlive.com, 3/1/12)

Are Private Prisons Michigan's Cost Savior?
(Mlive.com, 3/1/12)

Macomb County Drug Court Joins New Section of Specialty Courts
(Macomb Daily, 2/29/12)

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