Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
March 12 –18, 2012
Volume 10 Issue 11

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 3/19
3/20 House Families, Children and Seniors
Agenda: SB 455 Revise sentencing guidelines for certain fraud violations; SB 459 Increase crime of obtaining signature by fraud and penalties for financial exploitation of vulnerable adults under certain circumstances; SB 465 Revise sentencing guidelines for crime of financial exploitation of vulnerable adult to reflect increased penalties; Testimony Only:
SB 461 Revise miscellaneous provisions in EPIC regarding legally incapacitated and other protected and vulnerable individuals; HB 5441 Revise duties of guardian ad litem; SB 1005 Require certain child development training for lawyer-guardian ad litem, and modify termination of parental rights provisions.
Elder Law & Disability Rights Section Position on SB 455, SB 459, and SB 465: Support
Elder Law & Disability Rights Section Position on SB 461: Support

3/20 House Appropriations: Judiciary
Agenda: Presentation on the State Appellate Defender Office by Dawn Van Hoek, Director, State Appellate Defender Office; Presentation on the Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System by Thomas Harp, Administrator, Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System; Public Testimony on the FY 2012-13 and FY 2013-14 Judiciary Budget.

3/20 Senate Appropriations: General Government
Agenda Items of Interest: Department of Attorney General; Department of Civil Rights.

3/20 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 977 Prohibit use of medical marihuana for treatment of glaucoma; SB 861 Eliminate sunset for boot camp program; And any other business properly before the committee.

3/20 Senate Appropriations: Corrections Department
Agenda: Discussion and reporting of SB 951 Department of Corrections Budget for fiscal year 2012-2013.

3/22 House Judiciary
Agenda: Testimony Only: SB 269 Revise limitation on recovery amount in small claims suits; SB 557 Enact revocation of paternity act; SB 558 Allow acknowledgment of parentage to be set aside under revocation of paternity act; SB 559 Allow order of filiation to be set aside under revocation of paternity act; SB 560 Provide for determination of parentage for intestate succession determination under revocation of paternity act; HB 5328 Allow acknowledgment of parentage to be set aside under revocation of paternity act; Possible Votes On: SB 29 Amend Michigan penal code to allow sale, possession, and use of device that uses electro-muscular technology under certain circumstances; SB 30 Amend firearms act to allow sale, possession, and use of device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology under certain circumstances; SB 93 Revise sentencing guidelines for carrying concealed pistol in prohibited place to include reference to electro-muscular disruption devices; SB 64 Require 7-day notice to quit for tenants who injure or threaten to injure other tenants or employees; SB 65 Modify provision relating to the termination of lease for certain controlled substance offenders; SB 393 Remove population requirement for municipalities eligible to seek reimbursement from inmates.
SBM Position on SB 269: Support an increase to the jurisdictional limit in small claims court based on inflation and a schedule of increases
Family Law Section Position on SB 557–SB 560: Support and Amend

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 3/13–3/15
View all bills introduced 3/13-3/15

Of Interest to the Legal Community
SB 1014 Courts; jurisdiction; jurisdiction for prosecution of felony offenses; expand to county where consequence intended to have effect. Amends sec. 8, ch. II of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 762.8).

Of General Interest
HB 5467 State financing and management; other; legislative tax expenditure review commission; create. Amends 1986 PA 268 (MCL 4.11014.1901) by adding ch. 7C.

HB 5470 State financing and management; other; requirement for fiscal agencies to score certain tax expenditures; implement. Amends secs. 501 & 601 of 1986 PA 268 (MCL 4.1501 & 4.1601).

HB 5477 State financing and management; funds; 21st century job trust fund; modify. Amends secs. 88f & 88q of 1984 PA 270 (MCL 125.2088f & 125.2088q).

SB 1016 State financing and management; other; requirement for fiscal agencies to score certain tax expenditures; implement. Amends secs. 501 & 601 of 1986 PA 268 (MCL 4.1501 & 4.1601).

SB 1017 State financing and management; other; legislative tax expenditure review commission; create. Amends 1986 PA 268 (MCL 4.11014.1901) by adding ch. 7C.

In the Hall of Justice
Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr., Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly; Court Reform Work Cited

The Michigan Supreme Court will hold a public administrative hearing on Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in the Supreme Court courtroom located on the sixth floor of the Michigan Hall of Justice, 925 W. Ottawa Street, Lansing, Michigan 48915. The hearing will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. Persons who wish to address the Court regarding matters on the agenda should notify the Office of the Clerk of the Court in writing at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, Michigan 48909, or by e-mail at MSC_clerk@courts.mi.gov, no later than Monday, March 26, 2012.

Agenda:
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 Amendments

2010-22 Proposed Amendment of Rule 7.3 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
This proposal was submitted by the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly. The proposed amendment is designed so that it would limit situations in which an attorney soliciting new clients would inform a defendant or respondent that an action has been filed against him or her before the defendants or respondent is served with the papers. The bar argues that allowing attorneys to notify defendants before service leads to greater risk of domestic violence against the filing party or other illegal actions (such as absconding with children or removing assets from a joint bank or other financial account) that may occur before service can be completed.
SBM Position: Support
Family Law Section Position: Support
Domestic Violence Committee Position: Support

2010-25 Proposed Amendment of Rule 7.210 of the Michigan Court Rules
This amendment was proposed by James Neuhard, former director of the State Appellate Defender Office. The proposed amendment would require trial courts to become the depository for exhibits offered in evidence (whether those exhibits are admitted or not), instead of requiring parties to submit exhibits offered in evidence when a case is submitted to the Court of Appeals on a claim of appeal.
SBM Position: Support
Appellate Practice Section Position: Support
Criminal Law Section Position: Support

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

Other Actions
2012-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 25th and 26th Judicial District Courts
Issued: March 14, 2012

At the Bar
WXYZ-TV and Detroit Free Press Take Top Honors in SBM's McCree Journalism Awards

Sections and Committees
The Animal Law Section submitted the following Public Policy reports:
Support and Amend: HB 4894 Animals; dogs; euthanizing of unlicensed dogs; prohibit. Amends sec. 17 of 1919 PA 339 (MCL 287.277).

Oppose: SB 0209 Animals; other; facilities accredited by the zoological association of America; exempt from wolf-dog cross act. Amends 2000 PA 246 (MCL 287.1001287.1023) by adding sec. 22a.

Oppose: SB 0210 Animals; other; facilities accredited by the zoological association of America; exempt from large carnivore act. Amends sec. 22 of 2000 PA 274 (MCL 287.1122).

Support: SB 0574 Animals; dogs; sale of dogs and cats; create certain protections for purchasers. Amends title & sec. 1 of 1969 PA 287 (MCL 287.331) & adds sec. 5b.

Oppose: SB 0826 Animals; dogs; transport of unlicensed dogs to animal control shelter or animal protection shelter; require. Amends sec. 17 of 1919 PA 339 (MCL 287.277).

The Business Law Section submitted the following Public Policy report:
Support: 2006-47 Proposed Amendment of Rules 1.109, 2.107, 2.113, 2.114, 2.518, 3.001, 3.101, 3.218, 3.800, 3.901, 3.903, 3.930, 4.001, 5.101, 5.113, 5.731, 6.007, 8.108, and 8.119 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments of these rules would update the rules making them less "paper" focused and reflecting the use of electronic technology in the way courts process court records.

The Children's Law Section submitted the following Public Policy report:
Oppose: SB 0694 Children; parental rights; probate court jurisdiction to terminate parental rights of a parent who commits a criminal offense against a child; provide for. Amends sec. 2, ch. XIIA of 1939 PA 288 (MCL 712A.2).

The Elder Law & Disability Rights Section submitted the following Public Policy reports:
Support and Amend Paragraphs E & F: SB 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).

Support and Amend Paragraph 3: SB 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: SB 0901 Civil procedure; alternate dispute resolution; condominium act; revise arbitration provisions to reflect adoption of uniform arbitration act. Amends sec. 144 of 1978 PA 59 (MCL 559.244).

Oppose: SB 0902 Civil procedure; alternate dispute resolution; arbitration; make arbitration provisions of the revised judicature act subject to uniform arbitration act. Amends sec. 5070 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.5070); adds sec. 5037 to ch. 50 & repeals (See bill).

Oppose: SB 0903 Civil procedure; alternate dispute resolution; uniform arbitration act; enact. Creates new act.

Federal News
Supreme Court Will Consider Delays in Death Row Cases Over Claims of Mental Health Problems
(Washington Post, 3/19/12)

Federal Funds Help Crime Labs Struggling With DNA Evidence Backlogs
(Washington Post, 3/18/12)

Supreme Court Sizes Up Teens Who Murder
(Christian Science Monitor, 3/16/12)

State News
Gov. Snyder to Unions: Back off Petition Drive Against Right-to-Work
(Detroit Free Press, 3/19/12)

Proposed Collective Bargaining Amendments Approved for Petitions
(Detroit Free Press, 3/19/12)

Michigan Accountability Gets 'F'
(Detroit News, 3/19/12)

Michigan Group Delays Corporate Disclosure Measure
(Mlive, 3/18/12)

Buried Amid Rape Kit Backlog: Justice for Victims
(Mlive, 3/18/12)

Michigan Supreme Court Declines to Weigh in on Issue Involving Jury Discussions
(Michigan Radio, 3/17/12)

Snyder Names 2 Lawyers to Appeals Court
(Detroit News, 3/16/12)

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