Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CCBA 2013 Legislative Program Takes Shape

Last Friday (February 22) was the Legislature's bill introduction deadline.  As of close of business, the CCBA had 19 sponsored bills, embodying 22 resolutions (see online matrix).

Assembly Speaker Pérez 
Although there are no statistics immediately available, it is very likely that the CCBA’s legislative program is the most extensive of any organization in the state.

The list of bills includes some “repeaters” – i.e., bills which were introduced in slightly different form in an earlier session, but which the CCBA believes stand a better chance this time around due to changed circumstances or an alternate approach. These include AB 16 by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez to extend protections against domestic violence to dating relationships, and AB 604 by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, which is a variation on last session's AB 308 regarding reform of eyewitness identification procedures.

Assemblymember Lowenthal
Most of the bills are completely new, however – even though the resolutions upon which they are based may have been around for several years.  One such measure is AB 994 by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, the legislative embodiment of a multi-year effort by the Bar Association of San Francisco’s (BASF) CCBA delegation to institute statewide diversion for misdemeanors.  Another measure is AB 1125 by Assemblymember Don Wagner, which is based on a 2009 resolution out of the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA) - and much work in-between - to create a uniform process and market-based standards for the award of prevailing party attorney's fees.

The resolutions upon which the 19 bills are based are the product of nine CCBA member bar associations, including the SDCBA (4), BASF (3), Los Angeles County Bar Association (2), Sacramento County Bar Association (2), Beverly Hills Bar Association (2), Alameda County Bar Association (2), Contra Costa County Bar Association, San Bernardino County Bar Association, and Bar Association of Northern San Diego County.

However, the CCBA’s legislative presence is not reflected solely in bills sponsored.  The CCBA is also actively involved in the efforts of the Open Courts Coalition to secure full and stable funding for the state’s judiciary pursuant to a resolution sponsored by the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA), and in other non-legislative efforts to address issues relating to discipline of assigned retired judges (LACBA) and to ensure maintenance of hormonal therapy for transgender prisoners, per a series of resolutions sponsored by the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF).

Nor is this necessarily the whole of CCBA’s 2013 legislative program.  The Conference’s Legislative Representative is still exploring the amendment of a small number of additional resolutions into legislation already introduced.

The end result of this year’s efforts will not be known for several months.  But at the moment, at least, the CCBA’s 2013 Legislative Program is an ambitious reflection of the efforts of hundreds of CCBA delegates, which hopefully will result in many successes.

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