Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
November 28–December 4, 2011
Volume 9 Issue 49

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 12/5
12/6 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 779 Prohibit altering a firearm or an imitation firearm, and provide penalties; SB 780 Prohibit brandishing of imitation firearms, and increase penalties; SB 781 Enact sentencing guidelines for crime of altering a firearm or imitation firearm, and increase certain penalties; And any other business properly before the committee.

12/7 House Judiciary
*Please note the change in date and time from the normal Committee schedule.
Agenda: 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; 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; HB 5101 Reduce in number certain trial court judgeships; HB 5102 Reduce in number circuit court judgeships, and reorganize certain circuits; HB 5103 Reduce district court judgeships, and reorganize certain district court districts; HB 5104 Reduce in number judges; certain circuit court and district court judgeships; HB 5105 Reduce in number certain circuit court and district court judgeships; HB 5106 Reduce in number certain circuit court and district court judgeships; HB 5107 Reduce in number certain circuit court and district court judgeships; HB 5108 Reduce in number probate court judgeships; SB 416 Reduce in number circuit court and district court judges.

12/7 Michigan Law Revision Commission

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 11/30–12/2
View all bills introduced 11/30–12/2

Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 5191 Courts; judges; magistrates; require to be licensed attorneys. Amends sec. 8507 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.8507).

At the Bar
Sections and Committees
The Negligence Law Section submitted Public Policy positions on the following items:
Oppose: HB 4601 Torts; product liability; liability of successor corporation for asbestos claims; enact limits. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101600.9947) by adding ch. 30.

Oppose: SB 524 Torts; other; "Good Samaritan" law; expand to include certified lifeguards. Amends 1963 PA 17 (MCL 691.1501691.1507) by adding sec. 6.

Federal News
States Beginning to Rethink Indigent Defense Systems
(Stateline.org, 12/1/11)

The Certainty of Memory Has Its Day in Court
(New York Times, 11/28/11)

Supreme Court TV? Nice Idea, but Still Not Likely
(New York Times, 11/28/11)

In the Hall of Justice
Jury Issues Before Supreme Court in Arguments This Week

Proposed Amendments
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).
Issued: November 28, 2011
Comment period expiration: March 1, 2012
Public hearing: To be scheduled

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.
Issued: December 2, 2011
Comment period expiration: March 1, 2012
Public hearing: To be scheduled

State News
Gov. Rick Snyder Uses His First Veto Against Bill on Regulations
(Detroit Free Press, 12/2/11)

Snyder Targets Developing Michigan's Workforce with Web-Based Tools
(Detroit News, 12/2/11)

Proposal Would Alter Recall Criteria in Michigan
(Lansing State Journal, 12/2/11)

Michigan Poised to End Some Extra Traffic Fines
(Lansing State Journal, 12/1/11)

Snyder Expected to Sign Anti-Bullying Law
(Lansing State Journal, 11/30/11)

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