Monday, April 8, 2013

Three CCBA-Sponsored Bills Pass First Policy Committee Test

Three bills sponsored by the Conference of California Bar Associations had their first legislative policy committee hearings last Tuesday (April 2), and all three were approved overwhelmingly and moved on to their next test.

Assemblymember Chau
Two of the measures, both authored by first-year Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), a long-time practicing attorney, were heard in and approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.  The first bill, AB 267, would establish a new evidentiary privilege to protect the confidentiality of communications between a lawyer referral service (LRS) and its clients, the people it serves.

As noted in the official committee analysis, "Because prospective clients consult a LRS for the same reason they would consult a lawyer -- namely, to obtain legal advice or to seek legal representation -- the author reasonably contends that the prospective client in both cases should be able to speak completely candidly about the legal matter, free from fear that any embarrassing or self-incriminating information will be subject to discovery in litigation."
Stephen Steinberg

AB 267 is based on CCBA Resolution 08-12-2012, out of the Contra Costa County Bar Association.  CCCBA delegate (and president-elect) Stephen Steinberg, who developed the original resolution, actively participated in developing amendments to address Judiciary Committee concerns by making the privilege more closely parallel the existing statutory attorney-client privilege. Steinberg also testified in support of the bill, which was approved on a bipartisan 8-1 vote.

Mallory Lass
The second CCBA-sponsored bill by Assemblymember Chau was AB 381, which extends existing double damage provisions in the Probate Code to a person who misappropriates property through undue influence in bad faith, or through acts of financial elder abuse, and provides that the person may also be held liable for attorney's fees and costs in addition to those double damages. The bill is based on CCBA Resolutions 04-08-2012 and 04-09-2012, both developed by Sacramento County Bar Association delegate Mallory Lass, and has won the support of  the the California Association for Nursing Home Reform, California Commission on Aging, California Police Chiefs Association, and others.  Lass was also actively involved in developing amendments to AB 381 and testified in support of the bill, which passed the committee unanimously, 9-0.

Senator Berryhill
The final CCBA-sponsored bill to win approval last Tuesday was SB 504 by Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto), which would authorize county agricultural commissioners, after exhaustion of the appeal and review process, to obtain judgments from a superior court to expedite recovery of civil penalties levied on violators of the Fruit, Nut, and Vegetable Standards Law. The bill is based on CCBA Resolution 08-08-2012, developed by San Diego County Bar Association delegate Sally Lorang, and was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee on a bipartisan 4-0 vote.

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