Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
December 14–20, 2009
Volume 7 Issue 51

FOCUS: Funding for Legal Services
On December 15, the U.S. House and Senate conferees completed their negotiations on the FY 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The measure includes $420 million for LSC, an increase of $30 million. It also removes the restriction on LSC programs' ability to seek attorneys' fees, a restriction which has been in place since 1996.

The bill became part of an omnibus spending bill (H.R. 3288), which was signed by President Obama on December 16.

FOCUS: The Michigan Supreme Court Will Hear Indigent Representation Claims
The Supreme Court will hear arguments from the state, appealing the Court of Appeals ruling in Duncan v. State of Michigan (Supreme Court Docket Nos. 139345, 139346, 139347). The Court of Appeals ruled that the state is not protected by governmental immunity and criminal defendants could potentially show the state's current public defense system is unconstitutional.

In the Capitol
Both the Senate and House will convene on Wednesday, December 30, at 11:30 a.m. for sine die to officially adjourn for the year. The House and Senate will convene on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, at 12:00 p.m., as required by the Michigan Constitution.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 12/15–12/18
Of Interest to the Legal Community
HB 5699 Civil procedure; statute of limitations; civil action for damages resulting from criminal sexual conduct against a minor; extend tolling of statute of limitations. Amends secs. 5838a & 5851 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.5838a & 600.5851).

SB 1035 Law enforcement; other; name-based criminal history check fee; increase. Amends sec. 3 of 1935 PA 120 (MCL 28.273).

SB 1036 Law enforcement; fingerprinting; application fee for fingerprint and criminal record check; increase. Amends sec. 3 of 1935 PA 120 (MCL 28.273).

SB 1042 Law enforcement; funds; booking fee for jail inmates; revise, and require certain audits.

Of General Interest
HB 5702 Children; protection; state child advocacy council; create. Creates new act.

HB 5703 Children; protection; central repository pertaining to death of a child; create. Amends sec. 7b of 1975 PA 238 (MCL 722.627b).

HB 5704 Children; protection; sharing of case-specific information related to child deaths while in state care; require. Amends sec. 7b of 1975 PA 238 (MCL 722.627b).

HB 5705 Children; protection; access to documents referencing death of a child who was a ward of the state; allow. Amends sec. 7 of 1975 PA 238 (MCL 722.627).

HB 5713 Labor; fair employment practices; abusive conduct in the workplace; provide remedy. Creates new act.

HB 5715 Family law; child support; annual child support fee; impose. Amends title & secs. 3 & 6 of 1971 PA 174 (MCL 400.233 & 400.236).

In the Hall of Justice
Supreme Court, Court of Appeals Announce Holiday Schedule

A Journalist's Guide to Covering Michigan State Courts Published by Michigan Supreme Court Office of Public Information

Appointments to Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions Announced by Michigan Supreme Court

Rule Amendments
2008-13—Adoption of New Rule 1.15A of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
This new rule, submitted by the State Bar of Michigan and supported by the Attorney Grievance Commission, requires attorneys to maintain client trust accounts in approved financial institutions. The State Bar of Michigan will establish guidelines for approving and terminating "approved status" for financial institutions, and will periodically publish a list of approved financial institutions. The financial institutions become approved by, among other requirements, agreeing to notify the Grievance Administrator and the lawyer if a lawyer's trust account is overdrawn. If the Grievance Administrator sends the lawyer a request for investigation based on the overdraft, the lawyer is required to submit an explanation of the overdraft to the Grievance Administrator within 21 days.
Issued: December 15, 2009
Effective: Nine months after entry of this order by the Court

Proposed Amendments
2009-26—Proposed Amendment of Rules 5.105, 5.125, 5.201, 5.501, 5.801, and 5.802 of the Michigan Court Rules and Proposed Adoption of New Rule 5.208 of the Michigan Court Rules (to replace Rules 5.306 and 5.503)
These proposed changes, submitted by the Probate and Estate Planning Council of the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Probate Judges Association, have been designed so that the rules would conform to recently-enacted statutory changes creating the Michigan Trust Code. The proposed amendments would correct and insert cross-references to the applicable statutory provisions, and make other technical changes. In addition, proposed new MCR 5.208 would incorporate the notice requirements for both decedent estates and trusts currently contained in MCR 5.306 and MCR 5.503, and would replace those rules.
Issued: December 15, 2009
Comment period expires: April 1, 2010
Public hearing: To be scheduled

Appointments
2009-01—Supreme Court Appointment to the Committee on Model Civil Jury Instruction

At the Bar
Sections and Committees
The Criminal Law Section submitted Public Policy reports on the following bills:

Support: HB 5318 Criminal procedure; other; penalties, fines, or costs; allow to be collected in same manner as civil money judgment. Amends sec. 4805 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.4805).

Support: HB 5382 Criminal procedure; other; fines, costs, restitution, assessments, and fees; allow to be collected in same manner as civil money judgment. Amends sec. 4805 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.4805).

Oppose: HB 4621 Civil procedure; evidence; testimony of a vulnerable adult; allow to be presented by videotape or closed-circuit television. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101600.9947) by adding sec. 2170.

The Probate & Estate Planning Section submitted Public Policy positions on the following items:
Oppose: HB 5196 Probate; powers of attorney; uniform power of attorney act; enact. Creates new act & repeals secs. 5501–5505 of 1998 PA 386 (MCL 700.5501700.5505).

Oppose and Amend: Estate of Calvin Graves, Ct. App. Docket No. 286674

Support: Proposed Amendments to the Uniform Principal and Income Act

Support: Proposed Technical Amendments to the Michigan Trust Code: MTC sections 7411, 7414, 7817, 7821, and 7910.

Support: Proposed Technical Amendments to the Michigan Trust Code: Subsection (p) to MTC 7105.

The Real Property Law Section submitted a Public Policy position on the following bills:
HB 5267 Civil procedure; foreclosure; amount required to redeem foreclosed property; allow certain registers of deeds to calculate. Amends sec. 3240 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.3240).

SB 0350 Civil procedure; foreclosure; amount required to redeem foreclosed property; allow certain registers of deeds to calculate. Amends sec. 3240 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.3240).

Federal News
Justices Revisit Rule Requiring Lab Testimony
(New York Times, 12/19/09)

State News
Michigan Lawmakers Pass Education Reform
(Detroit News, 12/19/09)

Officials to Discuss Public Defense 'Crisis'
(Detroit News, 12/14/09)

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