Legislative Update - March 25, 2011 STATE OF THE JUDICIARY LEGISLATIVE DATABASE
On March 24, 2011, Chief Justice Saufley addressed a joint session of the Legislature and delivered her State of the Judiciary address. The address discussed the advances that the Judicial Branch has made over the last ten years and the advances that the Judicial Branch hopes to make over the next ten years. Issues that the Chief Justice wants to address include:
The Chief Justice asked the Legislature to support the Governor’s budget for the Judicial Branch. She also took this opportunity to remind the Legislature of the funding and staff shortages within the Judicial Branch.
The Administration presented its supplemental budget request this morning to keep the state operating until the end of the current fiscal year. The request contains $550,000 for the MCILS, which is exactly what they requested for the remainder of the year. It is my understanding that with this additional funding, the MCILS can continue to pay attorneys within two weeks of when they submit vouchers. Without this funding, the Commission was going to have to defer payments for a longer period of time.
EXPEDITED DEP AND LURC PERMIT REVIEW
On March 22, 2011, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee held a work session on LD 614, which would require DEP and LURC to hire outside reviewers for applications in some situations. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Saviello, immediately moved that the bill be reported out as “ought not to pass,” explaining that he no longer felt that this bill was necessary. The Committee then voted unanimously to vote this bill out as “ought not to pass,” killing this bill. The Committee will, however, be sending a letter to DEP to ask the Department to inform the Committee of the causes of permit delays.
WARRANTY COVENANTS STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
On March 23, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held a work session on LD 482, which would create a 20-year statute of limitations for breach of warranty covenants. This is a bill introduced by Representative Crockett at the request of the Real Estate Section of the Bar Association. The Committee voted unanimously to report this bill out as “ought to pass as amended.” The amendment is attached.
ENVIRONMENTAL STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
On March 23, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held a work session on LD 281, which would shorten the statute of limitations period for environmental violations. As introduced, this bill would have established a five-year statute of limitations. The DEP proposed amending the bill to allow for a six-year statute of limitations that begins to run upon discovery of an environmental violation by the DEP. This was a controversial bill and it was debated heavily in Committee. Ultimately, the Committee voted 7 – 5 to report this bill out as “ought not to pass.” Those voting in the minority voted to report this bill out as “ought to pass as amended.” This bill, however, may be reconsidered in Committee.
On March 24, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held a work session on LD 165, a bill that initially proposed requiring mediation in all divorces. This was the second work session on this bill. The Committee voted unanimously to report this bill out as “ought not to pass,” effectively killing this bill.
NEW COURT CONSTRUCTION
On March 24, 2011, the Judiciary Committee held a work session on LD 791, which would require that plans for new court facilities consider the space needs of district attorneys and attorneys providing indigent legal services. This bill would also prohibit rent being imposed on district attorneys and attorneys providing indigent legal services. The Judicial Branch opposed this bill at hearing and the Committee voted unanimously to report this bill out as “ought not to pass.”
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Legislative Update - March 25, 2011
STATE OF THE JUDICIARY