Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
August 24-30, 2009
Volume 7 Issue 35

In the Capitol
The Michigan House of Representatives will be in session on Wednesday, September 2 at 10:00 am. The Senate is adjourned until Wednesday, September 9.
House Session Schedule
Senate Session Schedule

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 8/26—8/27
Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 5276 Courts; judges; number of statewide judgeships; modify. Amends secs. 411, 504, 524, 807, 8117, 8146, 8152, 8160, 8161, 8162, 8163 & 8202 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.411 et seq.) & adds sec. 810b.

SB 0776 Courts; funding; specified portion of unencumbered balance of the juror compensation reimbursement fund; transfer to general fund for 2010 fiscal year only. Amends sec. 151d of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.151d).

Of General Interest
SJR K Constitutional amendments; state; right for independent health care; provide for. Amends the state constitution by adding sec. 28 to art. I.

In the Hall of Justice
Reminder: Monday is the last day to reserve a place on the Michigan Supreme Court public administrative hearing agenda, to be held this Wednesday, September 2, 2009. If you wish to speak at the hearing, please notify the Office of the Clerk of the Court by e-mail at MSC_clerk@courts.mi.gov no later than end of day today. The hearing will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. and adjourn no later than 11:30 a.m.
Public Administrative Hearing Agenda

Rule Amendments
2007-13—Amendment of Rule 611 of the Michigan Rules of Evidence
This amendment explicitly states that a judge shall establish reasonable standards regarding the appearance of parties and witnesses to evaluate the demeanor of those individuals and to ensure accurate identification.
Issued: August 25, 2009
Effective: September 1, 2009

2008-35—Amendment of Rule 8.115 of the Michigan Court Rules
This rule authorizes a court's chief judge to establish a policy for the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices in courtrooms, and requires that the policy be posted in a conspicuous location in each courtroom. The amendment also acknowledges that the policy for cell phone and electronic device usage in nonjudicial areas may be set by the operators of the facility in which courtrooms are located. No photographs may be taken of jurors and witnesses, and no photographs are allowed without the judge's permission. Failure to comply with the judge's policy may result in a fine (including confiscation of the device), incarceration, or both for contempt of court.
Issued: August 25, 2009
Effective: September 1, 2009

Proposed Amendments
2009-07—Proposed Amendments of Rules 7.105, 7.204, 7.205, and 7.302 of the Michigan Court Rules
These proposed amendments would create a prison mailbox rule, which would allow a claim of appeal or application for leave to appeal to be deemed filed when a prison inmate acting pro se places the legal documents in the prison's outgoing mail. The proposed rule would apply to appeals from administrative agencies, appeals from circuit court (both claims of appeal and applications for leave to appeal), and appeals from decisions of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court, and would apply prospectively.
Issued: August 25, 2009
Commend period expires: November 1, 2009
Public hearing: To be scheduled

At the Bar
2009-13—Proposed Amendment of Rules 2.112 and 2.118 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments of MCR 2.112 and 2.118 would set a time limit on the period for raising challenges to affidavits of merit and meritorious defense and notices of intent in medical malpractice actions. The proposal also would allow amendment when an affidavit is found to be insufficient unless such amendment would be unjustified, and would explicitly state that the amended affidavit of merit or meritorious defense relates back to the date of the affidavit's original filing.
SBM Position: Support

Sections and Committees
The Real Property Law Section submitted a Public Policy position on the following bills:
Oppose: HB 4869 Civil procedure; evictions; property managers; allow to represent landlords in eviction proceedings. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101600.9947) by adding sec. 5705.

Oppose: SB 0610 Liens; other; commercial real estate broker's lien act; enact. Creates new act.

Federal News
Court's Aid to Defendants Snarls Evidence Labs
(Washington Times, 8/31/09)

State News
Dillon Releases Details From State Health Care Plan
(Detroit News, 8/29/09)

Senate Bill Would Trim Film Tax Credits
(Detroit News, 8/28/09)

Campaign Trail Concerns Slow Michigan Budget Talks
(Lansing State Journal, 8/28/09)

Cox Proposes Ethics Reform Bills For Mich. Public Officials
(Detroit News, 8/27/09)

Prosecutors May Sue Over Contract
(Macomb Daily, 8/25/09)

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