Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
October 10–16, 2011
Volume 9 Issue 42

FOCUS: Governor Snyder Appoints Indigent Defense Advisory Commission
On October 13, Governor Rick Snyder signed Executive Order 2011-12, creating an Indigent Defense Advisory Commission. The fourteen-member commission will investigate how to improve legal representation provided to low-income criminal defendants in Michigan. The commission will also make recommendations about how to ensure legal representation provided to low-income residents in the criminal justice system is consistent across the state.

"A core principle of our criminal justice system is to guarantee that an individual charged with a crime be entitled to legal representation, even if they are unable to hire private counsel," Snyder said. "The Commission will work to ensure that all criminal defendants receive effective assistance of counsel."

State Bar of Michigan President, Julie I. Fershtman responded: "The State Bar of Michigan applauds Governor Snyder for establishing an Indigent Defense Advisory Commission. The Commission is a significant step forward in guaranteeing that Michigan has a criminal justice system that works for all and upholds core Constitutional rights for Michigan's citizens."

Executive Order 2011-12
Governor's Office Press Release (Includes appointments made to the Commission)

See also:

Audio: Legal Counsel to the Governor Mike Gadola describes the challenge with Michigan's current indigent defense system (Part 1 of 2)

Audio: Legal Counsel to the Governor Mike Gadola explains what the administration hopes to achieve by creating a commission to study how to improve legal representation for low-income defendants (Part 2 of 2)

Statement from David Carroll, Research Director for The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)

Appellate Defender Commission Applauds Governor, Anticipates Meaningful Reform

Michigan Campaign for Justice applauds Governor for new commission named to help reform Michigan's failing public defense system

See related news:
News Briefs: Commissioner Sitting on Group to Oversee Legal Representation
(Livingston Daily, 10/14/11)
Gov. Snyder Appoints Commission to Improve Legal Representation for the Poor
(Mlive.com, 10/13/11)
Snyder Launches Panel to Boost Legal Aid for the Poor
(Detroit News, 10/13/11)

FOCUS: The Alternative Dispute Resolution Section's Public Education Campaign
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Michigan celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is celebrating this milestone with a state-wide public education campaign, Michigan Mediates! The section earned the lauds of Governor Rick Snyder, who said "I commend the State Bar ADR Section for initiating this program. Our government agencies can benefit from applying mediation, facilitation, and other forms of dispute resolution as tools to resolve conflicts and save taxpayer money. When this happens, everyone benefits."
Press Release

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 10/17
10/18 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 596 Revise age of consent for sexual contact between school employee and student; SB 755 Amend reference to fourth degree criminal sexual conduct to reflect change; SB 726 Revise statute of limitations for attempted murder, kidnapping, and manslaughter; SB 727 Eliminate requirement for circuit court to consent to appointment of assistant prosecutor by prosecuting attorney in certain cases; SB 728 Eliminate requirement for circuit court to consent to appointment of assistant prosecutor by the prosecutor in certain cases; And any other business to come properly before the committee.

10/19 House Banking and Financial Services
Agenda Item of Interest: HB 5020 In foreclosure by advertisement, require all assignments of mortgage to be recorded.

10/19 House Commerce
Agenda: HB 5002 Modify definition of disability and conditions on compensation for covered injuries.
Workers' Compensation Section: Offer Amendments

10/20 House Judiciary
Agenda: Presentation on the 2011 State Court Administrative Office Judicial Resources Recommendations by Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. and Michigan State Court Administrator Chad C. Schmucker. HB 4647 Allow expert witness testimony to be presented by video communication equipment; HB 4601 Enact limits on liability of successor corporation for asbestos claims; HB 5071 Reduce in number certain district court judgeships; HB 5072 Reduce in number certain district court judgeships; HB 5073 Reduce in number certain district court judgeships; HB 5074 Reduce in number certain district court judgeships; HB 5075 Reduce in number certain circuit court and district court judgeships; SB 416 Reduce in number circuit court and district court judges; Pending Introduction and Referral: HB 5093 Reduce in number certain probate court and district court judgeships; HB 5094 Reduce in number certain district court judgeships; HB 5095 Reduce in number certain circuit court and district court judgeships.
SBM Position on HB 4647: Support In Concept

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 10/11–10/13
View all bills introduced 10/11-10/13

Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 5052 Civil procedure; evictions; persons entitled to appear in eviction proceedings; allow certain individuals to appear for landlord. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101600.9947) by adding sec. 916a.

HB 5071 Courts; judges; certain district court judgeships; reduce in number. Amends secs. 8149 & 8151 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.8149 & 600.8151).

HB 5072 Courts; judges; certain district court judgeships; reduce in number. Amends secs. 8158, 8162 & 8163 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.8158 et seq.).

HB 5073 Courts; judges; certain district court judgeships; reduce in number. Amends secs. 8125 & 8134 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.8125 & 600.8134).

HB 5074 Courts; judges; certain district court judgeships; reduce in number. Amends sec. 8133 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.8133).

HB 5075 Courts; judges; certain circuit court and district court judgeships; reduce in number. Amends secs. 528 & 8144 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.528 & 600.8144).

HB 5058 Campaign finance; contributions and expenditures; expenditures by candidate committees to defend certain officials in criminal or civil actions; limit. Amends secs. 9 & 21a of 1976 PA 388 (MCL 169.209 & 169.221a).

SJR O Public employees and officers; state; legislative power to pass laws to regulate civil service employees' compensation and labor disputes; provide for. Amends sec. 48, art. IV & sec. 5, art. XI of the state constitution.

SB 743 Children; abduction; uniform child abduction prevention act; create. Creates new act.

Of General Interest
HB 5059 Campaign finance; statements and reports; ballot question and political party committee filing requirements; modify. Amends secs. 3, 4, 6, 11, 33 & 34 of 1976 PA 388 (MCL 169.203 et seq.).

HB 5060 Elections; absent voters; definition of absent voter; expand to include an elector who applies in person at the clerk's office and who presents photo identification. Amends secs. 758 & 759 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.758 & 168.759).

HB 5061 Elections; absent voters; photograph identification; require when obtaining an absentee ballot, require ballot tracker program to be used by local governments, and require secretary of state to develop information displays indicating that ballot coaching in residential care facilities is prohibited. Amends sec. 761 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.761) & adds secs. 38 & 764c.

HB 5062 Elections; other; postelection audits and continuing election education programs; add to the Michigan election law and make other miscellaneous changes to the Michigan election law. Amends secs. 31, 33, 679a, 811, 847, 931 & 942 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.31 et seq.) & adds sec. 31a.

HB 5063 Elections; canvassing; approval by board of canvassers prior to circulating a petition; mandate. Amends secs. 22e, 32, 477 & 480 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.22e et seq.); adds sec. 483a & repeals secs. 474, 649 & 707 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.474 et seq.).

SB 750 Campaign finance; statements and reports; failure to file certain campaign finance statements; modify penalties. Amends secs. 33 & 35 of 1976 PA 388 (MCL 169.233 & 169.235).

SB 751 Elections; qualified voter file; active and inactive qualified voter files; create, require ballot tracker program to be used by local governments, and require the secretary of state to send notice to an elector when receiving a surrendered state driver license of that elector. Amends secs. 509r, 509aa, 658, 659 & 761 of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.509r et seq.) & adds sec. 764c.

SB 754 Elections; registration; photograph identification for in-person voter registration applicants; require, and provide registration and training of third-party voter registration organizations. Amends sec. 509v of 1954 PA 116 (MCL 168.509v) & adds sec. 497c.

In the Hall of Justice
Slip-and-Fall Covered by Auto No-Fault Policy? Plaintiff Claims She Fell While Closing Passenger-Side Door After Loading Truck; Insurer Disputes Connection Between Use of Vehicle and Injuries

At the Bar
July 2011 Bar Exam Admission Ceremonies

Dues Information

Federal News
Bilingual Voting Ballots Ordered in 25 States
(Washington Times, 10/12/11)

Supreme Court Considers Whether 'Right to Sue' Means Only Right to Arbitration
(Washington Post, 10/11/11)

State News
Michigan's Budget Could Get Infusion
(Lansing State Journal, 10/17/11)

Michigan House Panel OKs Auto Insurance Changes
(Lansing State Journal, 10/13/11)

Michigan Bill Would Let Governor Appoint More State Workers
(Lansing State Journal, 10/12/11)

Secretary of State Seeks Tougher Michigan Campaign Finance Laws
(Lansing State Journal, 10/12/11)

Michigan House Commerce Committee Studies Workers' Compensation Bill
(Mlive.com, 10/11/11)

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