Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
September 12-18, 2011
Volume 9 Issue 38

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 9/19
9/20 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 642 Increase penalties for assaulting a health care professional; SB 643 Enact sentencing guidelines for crime of assaulting or battering a health care professional; HB 4403 Ensure individual who fail to return jury questionnaires have continued eligibility for jury service; SB 542 Provide protection from liability personal injury or property damage caused by propane gas equipment or appliances; And any other business to come properly before the committee.
SBM Position on HB 4403: Support
Criminal Jurisprudence & Practice Committee Position on HB 4403: Support

9/21 Senate Appropriations: Judiciary
Agenda: Presentation by the State Court Administrator on the SCAO Judicial Resources Recommendations.

9/22 Senate Families, Seniors, and Human Services and House Families, Children, and Seniors and House and Senate Appropriations: Department of Human Services
Agenda: Department of Human Services testimony regarding the revised consent decree and settlement with Children's Rights, Inc.

9/22 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 4074 Require certain prisoner reentry programs, including issuance of identification card and copies of other identifying documents, and require prisoners to obtain certain records; HB 4075 Include corrections identification card in forms of identification necessary to apply for a state identification card and allow access to certain department of corrections data; HB 4076 Include corrections identification card in forms of identification necessary to apply for driver license; HB 4077 Assist convicted persons in obtaining certain records necessary to obtain identification documents; HB 4920 Provide authority to enact local ordinances with criminal penalties of not more than 180 days in jail; HB 4921 Provide authority to enact local ordinances with criminal penalties of not more than 180 days in jail; HB 4922 Provide authority to enact local ordinances with criminal penalties of not more than 180 days in jail; HB 4923 Provide authority to enact local ordinances with criminal penalties of not more than 180 days in jail; HB 4924 Provide authority to enact local ordinances with criminal penalties of not more than 180 days in jail; SB 281 Provide immunity from liability for slip and falls under certain circumstances in bowling centers.
SBM Position on HB 4074–HB 4077: Support
Criminal Jurisprudence & Practice Committee on HB 4074–HB 4077: Support

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 9/13–9/15
View all bills introduced 9/13–9/15

Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 4936 Insurance; no-fault; coverage and benefits; make miscellaneous changes. Amends secs. 3101, 3104, 3107, 3113, 3114, 3115, 3135, 3157, 3163 & 3172 of 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.3101 et seq.) & adds secs. 1245, 3107c & 3178.

SB 638 State; symbol; English; establish as the official state language and provide for its use. Creates new act.

SB 649 Insurance; no-fault; coverage and benefits; make miscellaneous changes. Amends secs. 3101, 3104, 3107, 3114, 3115, 3135, 3157, 3163 & 3172 of 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.3101 et seq.) & adds secs. 1245, 3107c & 3178.

Of General Interest
SB 639 Elections; ballots; proof of citizenship for certain candidates to be placed on ballot; require. Amends secs. 59, 75 & 169 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.59 et seq.) & adds secs. 696a, 696b & 696c.

In the Hall of Justice
Constitution Week Announced by Michigan Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court will hold a public administrative hearing on Wednesday, September 28, 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, MI 48909, or by e-mail to MSC_clerk@courts.mi.gov, no later than September 26, 2011.

Agenda:
2010-07 Proposed Amendment of Rule 1.5 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
The proposed amendment of MRPC 1.5 generally would limit a referral fee to 25 percent of the amount recovered in a case subject to a contingent fee agreement. The maximum fee could be increased if the referring attorney provides substantial input that merits such increased percentage.
SBM Position: Oppose
Negligence Law Section Position: Oppose

2010-11 Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.511 of the Michigan Court Rules
Because MCL 600.1337 requires a court to discharge an unqualified juror regardless whether a party challenges the juror for cause, the proposed amendment of MCR 2.511 would eliminate the provision from the list of challenges that may be made for cause, and instead would clarify that the discharge must be made when the court learns that the juror is not qualified to serve. This clarification would foreclose the possibility that an unqualified juror could be allowed to sit because no one challenged his or her qualification.
SBM Position: Support

2010-17 Proposed Amendment of Rule 3.707 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposal, submitted by the Michigan Judges Association, would clarify that the right to bring a motion to modify or terminate a personal protection order as established by MCR 3.707 applies to ex parte PPOs.
SBM Position: Support
Criminal Jurisprudence & Practice Committee Position: Support

2010-36 Amendment of Rule 3.705 of the Michigan Court Rules
This amendment, submitted to the Court by the State Bar of Michigan Domestic Violence Committee, amends MCR 3.705 to allow sufficient time for a respondent to file a written motion and offer of proof at least 24 hours before a hearing as required by statute. MCL 600.2950a(4) requires that a respondent who wants to introduce evidence covered by the rape shield provision of MCL 750.520j submit a notice and offer of proof at least 24 hours before the hearing. Before adoption of this amendment, the rule's one-day notice of hearing requirement would not have provided the respondent 24 hours within which to submit the offer of proof, so the SBM Domestic Violence Committee recommended that the rule be amended to change the time provision regarding notice of hearing for a sexual assault PPO to two days instead of one day.
SBM Position: Support

2011-04 Proposed Amendments of Rule 3.911 and Rule 3.915 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendment of MCR 3.911 would eliminate the 14-day time frame during which a demand for jury must be made. The proposed revision of MCR 3.915 would clarify that counsel should be appointed for a parent even at the preliminary hearing of a child protective proceeding.
SBM Position: Support

2011-05 Proposed Amendments of Rules 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.9, 1.13, 1.14, 1.15, 1.16, 1.17, 3.2, 4.1, 4.3, 5.2, and 8.4 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
The proposed amendments of MRPC 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.9, 1.13, 1.14, 1.15, 1.16, 1.17, 3.2, 4.1, 4.3, 5.2, and 8.4 would incorporate language from the comments of these rules into the rule itself.
SBM Position: Adopt the position of the Professional Ethics Committee

At the Bar
State Bar to Launch Pro Bono Fairs in October

Julie I. Fershtman Sworn in as SBM President

Gobbo is the New SBM Representative Assembly Chair

FOCUS: The Representative Assembly met on Thursday, September 15 and adopted the following positions unanimously:
The appointment of an Eyewitness Identification Task Force including State Bar members in the criminal defense, prosecution, judicial, and law enforcement communities, to develop and promote legislative and/or court rule changes that advances the improvement and reliability of eyewitness identification procedures.
SBM Position: Support

The Civil Procedure & Courts Committee's proposal to amend Michigan Court Rule 2.302 regarding discovery only depositions.
SBM Position: Support

Sections and Committees
The Negligence Law Section submitted Public Policy reports on the following items:
Oppose: SB 293 Insurance; no-fault; personal insurance protection coverage; provide for different benefit levels. Amends secs. 2111, 3101, 3104, 3107, 3114, 3115, 3163 & 3172 of 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.2111 et seq.).

Oppose: SB 294 Insurance; no-fault; fee schedules for medical costs paid by personal injury protection; provide for. Amends secs. 3107 & 3157 of 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.3107 & 500.3157).

Federal News
Changes to Police Lineup Procedures Cut Eyewitness Mistakes, Study Says
(New York Times, 9/18/11)

State News
Right-to-Work Debate Fires Up Among Michigan Lawmakers
(Detroit Free Press, 9/18/11)

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