Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
March 14–20, 2011
Volume 9 Issue 12

In the Capitol
Session schedule: The Michigan House of Representatives and Senate will not hold session the weeks of March 28 and April 4.
House Session Schedule
Senate Session Schedule

Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 3/21
3/22 Senate State Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee

3/22 House Families, Children, and Seniors
Agenda Items of Interest: HB 4381 Allow department designee to consent to adoption; HB 4382 Expand Michigan children's institute superintendent's consent authority to include consent for guardianships; HB 4383 Allow Michigan children's institute superintendent's designee to consent to guardianship.

3/22 House Military and Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security
Agenda: Presentation by Judge David Jordon, Ingham County Veterans Treatment Court.

3/23 House Appropriations: General Government
Agenda: Presentations on FY 2012 Executive Budget: Department of Attorney General; PACC; and Department of Civil Rights.

3/23 Senate Appropriations
Agenda: Briefing by Department of Treasury officials on various topics.

3/23 Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services
Agenda Items of Interest: SB218 Allow department designee to consent to adoption; SB219 Expand Michigan children's institute superintendent's consent authority to include consent for guardianships; SB220 Allow Michigan children's institute superintendent's designee to consent to guardianship.

3/24 Senate Appropriations: Human Services
Agenda: Department of Human Services presentation: Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Funding Formulas (Child Care Fund and Title IV-E); and JET Program.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 3/15–3/17
View all bills introduced 3/15–3/17

Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 4440 Torts; product liability; limitation on liability for drugs that have been approved by federal food and drug administration; rescind. Amends sec. 2946 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.2946).

SB 0260 Law enforcement; reports; missing senior or vulnerable adult alert program; provide for. Creates new act.

SB 0269 Civil procedure; small claims; limitation on recovery amount in small claims suits; revise. Amends sec. 8401 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.8401).

Of General Interest
SB 0274 Administrative procedure; joint committee; authority of joint committee on administrative rules; clarify. Amends secs. 35 & 45a of 1969 PA 306 (MCL 24.235 & 24.245a).

SB 0276 Administrative procedure; rules; state office of administrative hearings and rules; require posting of legal and policy bases and assessment of impact of the rules on the private sector. Amends secs. 3, 39 & 122 of 1969 PA 306 (MCL 24.203 et seq.) & adds sec. 45b.

In the Hall of Justice
The Michigan Supreme Court will hold a public administrative hearing on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. The hearing will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. 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 at, no later than Monday, March 28, 2011.

2004-08 Proposed Amendment of Rule 8.126 of the Michigan Court Rules
Michigan's updated pro hac vice rule, MCR 8.126, has been in place since 2008, and several changes to the rule have been recommended. Those changes include a requirement that the fee be charged for each request for pro hac vice admission, that the court that grants the motion send a copy of the order to the AGC (instead of requiring that the Michigan attorney send the copy to the AGC), that the rule specifically include an attorney's temporary admission for arbitration proceedings, and that the fee be required to be paid before an order enters.
SBM Position: Support

2005-11 Proposed Amendments of Canon 4 and Canon 5 of the Michigan Code of Judicial

The proposal contained in this order seeks to clarify the role a judge may play in fundraising events for law-related and educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organizations. The proposal would specifically allow a judge to speak, appear, or be a guest or accept an award at a fundraising event of both law-related and educational, charitable, religious, and civic organizations, and must be shielded as much as possible from knowing who has contributed and the amount of contributions.
SBM Position: Oppose

2006-38 Proposed Amendments of Subchapter 9.100 et seq. and Rules 8.110 and 8.120 of the Michigan Court Rules
See Michigan Supreme Court website for further description.
SBM Position: Support

2007-17 Proposed Amendment of Rule 8.121 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposed amendment of MCR 8.121was submitted to the Court to address a situation in which attorneys charge more than the one-third contingency fee that is the allowable fee limit charged in wrongful death and personal injury actions.
SBM Position: Oppose
Negligence Law Section Position

2007-18 Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.117 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendment would revise MCR 2.117 to provide that an attorney-client relationship continues until a final judgment is reached and the period allowed to appeal by right has expired unless the attorney discontinued the relationship before that time. Also the proposal would clarify that follow-up or ministerial actions performed by the attorney following notice of termination do not extend the attorney-client relationship.
SBM Position: Oppose
Civil Procedure & Courts Committee Position: Oppose
Consumer Law Section: Oppose
Family Law Section Position: Oppose

2008-10 Proposed Amendments of Rule 6.425 an Rule 7.210 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposal would require a sentencing judge to prepare and include with the case record a form in which the judge outlines the reason or reasons for departure from the sentencing guidelines. The duty to do so would be in addition to the obligation to state such reasons on the record. The proposal is designed to provide litigants and appellate courts a clear and unambiguous recitation of the reasons for departure by the sentencing court.
SBM Position: Oppose
Appellate Practice Section: Oppose
Criminal Law Section Position: Oppose

2008-11 Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.507 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposed amendment of MCR 2.507was submitted to the Court to clarify that oral agreements not made in open court to settle a case will not be enforceable. Like an agreement subject to the statute of frauds, agreements to settle a case would be required to be made in open court or in writing to be binding.
SBM Position: Support and Recommend Amendments
Family Law Section: Support

2008-32 Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.203 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposed amendment would clarify that summonses must be issued when a counterclaim or cross-claim is filed, and would establish an expiration date identical to the expiration date of summonses issued when a third party is added to an existing case.
SBM Position: Oppose
Litigation Section Position: Oppose

2010-30 Proposed New Rule 2.412 of the Michigan Court Rules and Proposed Amendments
of Rules 2.403, 2.411, and 3.216 of the Michigan Court Rules

Proposed new MCR 2.412 and the proposed amendments of MCR 2.403, 2.411, and 3.216 would consolidate provisions related to mediation confidentiality into one rule and would expand the current exceptions to mediation confidentiality, as recommended by the Mediation Confidentiality and Standards of Conduct Committee convened by the State Court Administrative Office.
SBM Position
Civil Procedure & Courts Committee Position
Domestic Violence Position
Family Law Section Position

At the Bar
SBM's Third Annual Spring Pro Bono Workshop Slated for May 25

Nominations for Major State Bar Awards Due by Friday, April 1

Applications for State Bar Committee Service Due May 13

Federal News
Chairmen Boost Michigan's Clout in Congress(Lansing State Journal, 3/19/11)

State News
Gov. Snyder Lays Out Ideas on Streamlining Michigan Government
(Lansing State Journal, 3/21/11)
See also:
Snyder: Put Greater Health Care Costs on Workers
(Detroit News, 3/21/11)

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