Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
November 30–December 6, 2009
Volume 7 Issue 49

FOCUS: Federal and State Officials Converge to Examine Michigan's Public Defense System; Congressional briefing and legislative hearing set for Dec. 14 in Detroit
Leaders from Washington, D.C., and Lansing are set to converge at Wayne State University in Detroit for two events focused on examining failures within Michigan's public defense system and solutions needed to ensure that Michigan and other states can better meet their constitutional obligations to provide adequate representation for people unable to afford an attorney.

At 9 a.m., the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Congressman John C. Conyers, Jr. (MI-14), will hold a Briefing on Solutions to the Indigent Defense Crisis. The event will feature a diverse panel of national and state experts on the issue of public defense, including:
Barry Scheck, Innocence Project;
Dennis W. Archer, Dickinson-Wright, PLLC;
David Carroll, National Legal Aid and Defender Association and author of a recent study on Michigan's public defense system;
Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly, Michigan Supreme Court;
Hon. Cynthia D. Stephens, Michigan Court of Appeals; and,
Hon. Fred Borchard, Chief Judge Pro Tempore, Michigan 10th Circuit Court.

Following the morning's federal panel, at 1:30 p.m., chairman of the State House Judiciary Committee, State Rep. Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing), will convene a committee hearing to discuss proposed legislation to reform Michigan's public defense system.

Both events will take place on the campus of Wayne State University in the Student Center Ballroom, located at 5221 Gullen Mall, in Detroit.

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of December 7
12/8 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 747 Exempt college campuses concealed weapons no-carry zones; HB 4918 Clarify certain provisions regarding lifetime probationers; HB 4919 Clarify persons sentenced to lifetime probation for certain drug crimes applicability of statute; HB 4920 Revise eligibility for parole for certain prisoners; HB 4921 Eliminate reference to major controlled substance offenses.

12/9 Senate Banking and Financial Institutions
Agenda Items of Interest: SB 991 Enact miscellaneous revisions in procedures for redeeming property from mortgage foreclosure; SB 992 Enact miscellaneous revisions in procedures for redeeming property from mortgage foreclosure; SB 993 Enact miscellaneous revisions in procedures for redeeming property from estate tax lien foreclosure.

12/9 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 5575 Prohibit human trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, and provide penalties; HB 5576 Enact sentencing guidelines for crime of human trafficking; HB 5577 Establish human trafficking as a predicate offense for racketeering violation; HB 5578 Allow forfeiture of property involved in human trafficking; HB 5579 Provide for additional restitution for victims of human trafficking; And any other business properly before this committee.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 12/1–12/3
Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 5612 Food; other; provision relating for immunity to persons donating food to nonprofit organizations or corporations that distribute donated food; allow. Amends title of 2000 PA 92 (MCL 289.1101289.8111) & adds sec. 5104.

HB 5631 Insurance; no-fault; damages to motor vehicles; allow tort recovery for. Amends secs. 3037 & 3135 of 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.3037 & 500.3135).

HB 5643 Children; adoption; placement of child in homes with other blood siblings; require to consider as best interest of child. Amends 1939 PA 288 (MCL 710.21–712A.32) by adding sec. 23g to ch. X.

SB 0991 Civil procedure; foreclosure; procedures for redeeming property from mortgage foreclosure; enact miscellaneous revisions. Amends secs. 3130, 3140, 3145, 3232, 3240 & 3248 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.3130 et seq.); adds sec. 3240a & repeals sec. 3244 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.3244).

SB 0992 Housing; housing development authority; procedures for redeeming property from mortgage foreclosure; enact miscellaneous revisions. Amends secs. 48g, 48i, 48j, 49h, 49j, 49m & 49s of 1966 PA 346 (MCL 125.1448g et seq.) & repeals sec. 49l of 1966 PA 346 (MCL 125.1449l).

SB 0993 Taxation; estates; procedures for redeeming property from estate tax lien foreclosure; enact miscellaneous revisions. Amends sec. 3 of 1899 PA 188 (MCL 205.203).

SB 1002 Crime victims; other; assessments against certain criminal defendants and juvenile offenders; increase. Amends sec. 5 of 1989 PA 196 (MCL 780.905).

SB 1003 Crime victims; other; allocation of excess revenue in crime victim's rights fund; modify. Amends sec. 4 of 1989 PA 196 (MCL 780.904).

SB 1004 Crime victims; compensation; amount of awards; increase. Amends sec. 11 of 1976 PA 223 (MCL 18.361).

Of General Interest
HB 5623 Education; school districts; teacher evaluation requirements; modify, require charter school contract rewards to be based on student performance, revise compulsory attendance requirements, and allow school to start before Labor day. Amends secs. 502, 503, 523, 1147, 1246, 1284b, 1311d, 1311e, 1536 & 1561 (MCL 380.502 et seq.) & adds secs. 1238, 1249 & 1320.

HB 5636 School aid; other; calculation of public school academy per pupil allocation; revise, provide for collection of certain data concerning teachers and pupil performance, and revise age for counting pupils in membership. Amends secs. 6, 20 & 94a of 1979 PA 94 (MCL 388.1606 et seq.).

In the Hall of Justice
The Michigan Supreme Court has a Public Administrative Conference scheduled for Thursday, December 10.

Foster Care Review Board Announces Awards

Court Publishes Proposed Changes to Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
The Supreme Court has published for comment proposed changes to a number of existing Rules of Professional Conduct (Rules 1.5, 1.7, 1.8, 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 5.4, 5.5, and 8.5) as well the proposed addition of Rules 2.4 (Lawyer Serving as Third-Party Neutral), 5.7 (Responsibilities Regarding Law-Related Services), and 6.6 (Nonprofit and Court-Annexed Limited Legal Services Programs). View the full text of the Court's order. The comment period for this set of proposed rule changes expires March 1, 2010.

Court Amends Disqualification Rule
On November 25, 2009, the Michigan Supreme Court entered an order amending MCR 2.003. The amendments apply the disqualification rule to justices of the Michigan Supreme Court and include the procedure to be followed when a disqualification issue is raised about a justice by either a party or the justice himself or herself. Language added to the grounds for disqualification clarifies that the listing is not exclusive. Two new grounds for disqualification include 1) a reference to the due process rights addressed in Caperton v. Massey, and 2) failure to adhere to the appearance of impropriety standard set forth in Canon 2 of the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct. Additional language clarifies that campaign speech protected by Republican Party of Minn v. White is not alone grounds for disqualification so long as it does not demonstrate bias or prejudice or an appearance of bias or prejudice for or against a party or attorney involved in the action. View the full text of the Court's order. The Court is scheduled to address further amendments to MCR 2.003 at the upcoming December 10 administrative conference.

At the Bar
Nominations Open for McCree Awards for Journalists

Sections and Committees
The Criminal Jurisprudence & Practice Committee supports the following bills:
HB 5176 State; identification cards; forms of identification necessary to apply for a state identification card; include corrections identification card and allow access to certain department of corrections data. Amends sec. 1 of 1972 PA 222 (MCL 28.291).
HB 5177 Corrections; prisoners; certain prisoner reentry programs, including issuance of identification card and copies of other identifying documents; require, and require prisoners to obtain certain records. Amends secs. 35, 37 & 67 of 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.235 et seq.) & adds sec. 34b.
HB 5178 Traffic control; driver license; forms of identification necessary to apply for driver license; include corrections identification card. Amends sec. 307 of 1949 PA 300 (MCL 257.307).
HB 5179 Criminal procedure; sentencing; certain records necessary to obtain identification documents; assist convicted persons in obtaining. Amends sec. 14, ch. XI of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 771.14).

State News
Michigan House Speaker Has End-of-Session Goals
(Detroit News, 12/5/09)

Michigan Tax Revenues Plummeting, But Not New Businesses
(Detroit News, 12/3/09)

Lawmakers Pursue $400 Million in Federal Funds for School
(Lansing State Journal, 12/2/09)

As Deadline Nears on School Funding Cuts, Lawmakers May Lean Toward Help in 2010
(Lansing State Journal, 12/1/09)

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