Week ending February 17, 2012

Indicates featured legislation

Jurisdiction: Newly Introduced

Iowa SB 2198 Enacts "Iowa Freedom and Sovereignty Act." Defines "Foreign law" as "any law enacted by a jurisdiction 4 or a governmental or quasi-governmental body other than the federal government or a state of the United States. "Foreign law" includes a religious law, legal code, accord, or ruling promulgated or made by an international organization, tribunal, or formal or informal administrative body." Provides any foreign law or other law that is in conflict with the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, or the Constitution of the State of Iowa shall not have force or effect in this state...It is the public policy of this state that the only factor that a court, administrative agency, arbitrator, mediator, or other person acting under authority of this state's laws shall consider in granting comity to a decision rendered under a foreign law that affects a sovereign citizen of this state is whether the decision violates the sovereign citizen's rights under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Iowa." Provides anyone who makes use of such a law is guilty of a class D felony. Provides a federal judge in the state who violates these provisions is to have his or her license to practice law revoked. Provides anyone who violates these provisions or attempts to enforce certain federal laws may have private right of action against them. In Senate State Government Committee.

Jurisdiction: Floor and Committee Activity

Missouri HB 1512 Provides court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any foreign law, legal code, or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States and Missouri constitutions, including, but not limited to, due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/15/12.

New Hampshire CACR 28 (Constitutional Amendment) Provides legislature alone shall determine the constitutionality of legislative acts. Permits supreme court to determine the constitutionality of judicial acts. Rejected by full House 2/15/12.

New Hampshire HB 1422 ORIGINAL: Declares that no New Hampshire court shall enforce foreign law or a state law enforcing foreign law if such enforcement violates an individual’s or corporation’s rights under the New Hampshire constitution or the United States Constitution. AS AMENDED: Unless the parties have previously agreed in writing to the contrary, no tribunal shall apply or enforce a foreign law or a state law or decision enforcing a foreign law, or base a determination in whole or in part on foreign law, if such application or enforcement would supersede or take precedence over any right, liberty, or privilege under the constitution of the state of New Hampshire, the laws or public policy of the state of New Hampshire, or the constitution of the United States. Approved by as amended by House Judiciary Committee 2/14/12.

Oklahoma SB 1196 Increases small claims jurisdiction from $6,000 to $10,000. Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/14/12.

South Dakota HB 1253 Prohibits judicial enforcement of any religious codes. Approved by full House 2/14/12.

Qualifications and Terms: Newly Introduced

NONE

Qualifications and Terms: Floor and Committee Activity

Alabama SB 138 Allows a former or retired judge with certain qualifications to preside over cases in a circuit or district court. Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/16/12.

Kansas HB 2224 Requires judicial and other candidates provide proof of citizenship. Approved by House Committee of Elections 2/17/12.

Maryland HB 4 (Constitutional Amendment) Requires judges of the Orphans' Courts *in Baltimore County only* be attorneys. Approved by full House 2/9/12.

Maryland SB 48 (Constitutional Amendment) Requires judges of the Orphans' Courts *in Baltimore County only* be attorneys. Approved by Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee 2/14/12. Approved by full Senate 2/17/12.

Maryland SB 81 (Constitutional Amendment) Requires judges of the Orphans' Courts *in Baltimore County only* be attorneys. Rejected by Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee 2/14/12.

Wyoming HJR 9 (Constitutional Amendment) Eliminates mandatory judicial retirement for judges. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/17/12.

Rule Making Authority: Newly Introduced

Kansas SB 423 Removes the number specified of judges in each district and allow the Supreme Court to allocate all judicial resources as it determines necessary and appropriate. In Senate Committee on Judiciary.

Rule Making Authority: Floor and Committee Activity

New Hampshire HB 1395 Declares unconstitutional and revokes supreme court rules amendments that would require attorneys to create or maintain a pooled interest-bearing trust account for clients' funds nominal in amount or to be held for a short period of time, and to remit the interest earned thereby to the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. Approved by full House 2/15/12. Referred to House Constitutional Review and Statutory Recodification Committee.

South Dakota HB 1064 Allows the Supreme Court to establish certain rules for the use of interactive audio visual equipment and to provide for the collection and deposit of fees for the use thereof. Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/16/12.

West Virginia HB 4291 Authorizes the Supreme Court of Appeals to determine which county law libraries are being used and should be continued as an obligation of the state. Approved as amended by full Senate 2/14/12. House concurs with Senate amendment 2/17/12. To Governor for approval.

Salary and Budget: Newly Introduced

Alabama SB 332 Provides earnings cap for judges receiving benefits from Judicial Retirement System but returning to temporary service In Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee.

Florida SB 1960 Requires the Clerks of Court Operations Corporation to collect existing clerk of court reports on county use of fees to support court facilities and submit them to the chief judge, the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In Senate Budget Committee.

Florida SB 1962 Requires that the Chief Financial Officer transfer court-related revenues from the Core Court System Cleaning Trust Fund, created in SB 1970, into the existing court and clerk trust funds to support the court and clerk appropriations. Directs selected appellate court fees and services charges and mediator certification licensure fees to the State Court Revenue Trust Fund. Repeals provisions directing the Justice Administrative Commission to transfer revenues from the Clerk of the Court Trust Fund to the General Revenue Fund. In Senate Budget Committee.

Florida SB 1964 Requires all court-related assessments are mandatory and must be imposed regardless of whether the assessment is announced in open court. Requires clerks of court to develop a uniform form to be used in identifying and imposing mandatory assessments. Revises requirements for the clerks of court to report on the assessment and collection of certain fines or other monetary penalties, fees, costs, and charges. Requires the clerks, rather than the Department of Financial Services, to develop a reporting form. Provides for the clerks to consult with the Office of the State Courts Administrator in developing the form and guidelines governing the reporting of amounts assessed and collected, etc. In Senate Budget Committee.

Florida SB 1970 Creates the Core Court System Clearing Trust Fund within the Department of Financial Services to hold the deposits of court-related revenues, such as court fines, fees, service charges, which are authorized in the linked bill, SB 1962. Provides the Core Court System Clearing Trust Fund is a clearing trust fund of the Chief Financial Officer and is not subject to termination. In Senate Budget Committee.

Illinois HB 5508 Provides that beginning July 1, 2012, Clerks of the Circuit Court in counties with a population under 150,000 shall receive a full state stipend amount, Clerks of the Circuit Court in counties with a population of 150,000 or more but less than 400,000 shall receive 50% of that amount, and Clerks of the Circuit Court in counties with a population of 400,000 or more shall receive no stipend. In House Rules Committee.

Illinois HB 5743 Allows county board to impose an additional fee of $10 to $30 on convictions to be used to support Court Appointed Special Advocate services. In House Rules Committee.

Illinois HR 795 Directs the Auditor General to audit, examine and report on the potential for participants in the Judges Retirement System and other State retirement systems to earn service credit in a public retirement system for time spent at a private employer. In House Rules Committee.

Illinois SB 3741 Provides that a county may adopt a mandatory fee between $10 and $30 to be paid by the defendant upon a judgment of guilty or a grant of supervision for any offense. The assessments shall be collected by the clerk of the circuit court and must be deposited into an account specifically for the operations of Court Appointed Special Advocates In Senate Assignments Committee.

Kansas SB 425 Authorizes the imposition of a charge to fund the cost of establishing, operating and maintaining an electronic document filing, storage, and management system for the Kansas court system. Provides that a fee could be charged for electronic case filing, motion filing, record access, and document access. Provides fees be remitted to the State Treasurer who would deposit the entire amount into the Judiciary Technology Fund. Stipulates that the monies credited to the Judiciary Technology Fund could not be used for compensation of justices or judges of the Supreme Court and expands the currently existing statutory purposes for the Fund to include establishing, operating and maintaining a statewide system of electronic case filing, record access, and document access. In Senate Committee on Judiciary.

Maryland SB 956 Creates a cash balance plan under the State Retirement and Pension System and requires circuit court clerks join it. In Senate Budget and Taxation Committee

Maryland SB 958 Creates a cash balance plan under the State Retirement and Pension System and requires circuit court clerks join it. In Senate Budget and Taxation Committee

Mississippi HB 360 Increases fee for filing complaints, petitions, and indictments from $75 to $100. In House Fees and Salaries of Public Officers Committee.

Mississippi HB 484 Increases judicial salaries. Pay for salaries via a) increase to filings of appeals from $100 to $200 b) a special $40 fee on a civil case filings and c) special $75 fee on criminal convictions. Specifically includes in responsibilities of chief justice supporting and implementing electronic filing systems for the courts and drug courts. Specifically includes in responsibilities of judges of the court of appeals service as special trial judges because of a statewide increase in litigation and insufficient resources to fully fund trial judge positions, and performing additional judicial services after usual state business hours to reduce delays, backlogs and inefficiencies to comply with time standards adopted by and for the appellate and trial courts, and promoting public awareness of our judicial processes and openness and accessibility of our courts by being available to conduct programs and give speeches to civic, educational, governmental and religious organizations and entities. Specifically includes in responsibilities of circuit judges all necessary action to develop drug courts within their districts and to regularly report to the Administrative Office of Courts on the success of their drug court programs. The chancery and circuit court judges will take such action as is necessary to implement electronic filing and case management systems within their districts as developed by the Administrative Office of Courts as such systems become available and will take all necessary action to prepare their courts for electronic filing and case management. In House Judiciary A Committee.

Mississippi SB 2394 Increases judicial salaries. Pay for salaries via a) increase to filings of appeals from $100 to $200 b) a special $40 fee on a civil case filings and c) special $75 fee on criminal convictions. Specifically includes in responsibilities of chief justice supporting and implementing electronic filing systems for the courts and drug courts. Specifically includes in responsibilities of judges of the court of appeals service as special trial judges because of a statewide increase in litigation and insufficient resources to fully fund trial judge positions, and performing additional judicial services after usual state business hours to reduce delays, backlogs and inefficiencies to comply with time standards adopted by and for the appellate and trial courts, and promoting public awareness of our judicial processes and openness and accessibility of our courts by being available to conduct programs and give speeches to civic, educational, governmental and religious organizations and entities. Specifically includes in responsibilities of circuit judges all necessary action to develop drug courts within their districts and to regularly report to the Administrative Office of Courts on the success of their drug court programs. The chancery and circuit court judges will take such action as is necessary to implement electronic filing and case management systems within their districts as developed by the Administrative Office of Courts as such systems become available and will take all necessary action to prepare their courts for electronic filing and case management. In Senate Judiciary A Committee.

Mississippi SB 2402 Creates Interpreters fund and places it within the Administrative Office of Courts. In Senate Judiciary A Committee.

West Virginia SB 582 Allows unpaid magistrate court charges be collected through income tax refund withholding. In Senate Judiciary Committee.

Wyoming SB 87 Adds representative of the judicial branch on the state employee compensation commission. In Senate Appropriations Committee.

WyomingSB 96 Sets state elected officials salaries as percentages of judges/justices (e.g. Governor = Supreme Court justice). In Senate Appropriations Committee.

Salary and Budget: Floor and Committee Activity

Alaska HB 299 Authorizes civil legal services fund to receive up to 25% of the filing fees received by court system during prior fiscal year. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/13/12.

Arizona HB 2745 Closes enrollment in the Elected Officials Retirement Plan (EORP) and the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) in 2013 and establishes a voluntary defined contribution retirement system for state employees. Approved by House Employment and Regulatory Affairs Committee 2/14/12.

Florida HB 4081 Repeals law stating that salary of judges of district courts of appeal shall be as provided by law. Approved by full House 2/15/12.

Florida HB 4093 Repeals provisions relating to taxing of costs in Supreme Court for copies of records of any paper on file in Supreme Court ordered by losing party or his or her attorney. Approved by full House 2/16/12.

Florida HB 7095 Requires clerks' case information system be used with Lottery winners to determine if debts owed to the court. Requires all circuit clerks use Comprehensive Case Information System of the Florida Association of Clerks and Comptroller, Inc., and submit electronic case data to the system based on the case types designated by the Supreme Court. Provides An action to collect court costs, fees, or fines owed to the state may be commenced at any time. Declares all criminal or civil judges previously entered by court become civil liens. Approved by House Appropriations Committee 2/15/12.

Florida SB 1166 Amends current law relating to the responsibilities of the clerks of the court to enhance the collection of court fees and fines and to improve the efficiency of their operations. Requires a broader use of the Comprehensive Case Information System (CCIS) among state agencies to reduce operational costs and duties of the clerks of the court. Requires the Department of the Lottery to use the CCIS, rather than rely on notification from the judiciary and other state agencies to enforce the current prohibition on paying a prize of $600 or more before collecting outstanding fines and support obligations. Provides that filing fees are due when a party files a pleading to initiate a proceeding. Provides that with respect to criminal financial obligations, a previously imposed criminal or civil judgment constitutes a civil lien against the judgment debtor’s real or personal property. Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/16/12.

Indiana HB 1002 Reenacts the public officers compensation advisory commission that was repealed in 2011. Approved by Senate Committee on Public Policy 2/16/12.

Indiana SB 235 ORIGINAL: Imposes a pro bono legal services fee of $1 on parties who file certain civil actions, small claims actions, and probate actions. Requires the pro bono legal services fees to be transferred to the Indiana Bar Foundation as the entity designated by the Indiana supreme court to organize and administer the interest on lawyers trust accounts (IOLTA) program. Requires the Indiana Bar Foundation to: (1) deposit in an appropriate account and otherwise manage the fees the foundation receives in the same manner it deposits and manages the net earnings the foundation receives from IOLTA accounts; and (2) use the fees the foundation receives to assist or establish approved pro bono legal services programs. AMENDED: Same, but provides specifies that the handling and expenditure of the pro bono legal services fees received by the Indiana Bar Foundation are subject to audit by the State Board of Accounts. Approved by House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code 2/16/12.

Kentucky HB 300 Requires that an audit of the Judicial Form Retirement System shall be performed by the Auditor of Public Accounts at least once every five years. Requires the governing board and investment committee for the Judicial Retirement Plan establish ethics policies and procedures. Establishes term limits for members and chairs of the Board of Trustees of the Judicial Retirement System. Requires the Judicial Form Retirement System to make available on a public website all system expenditures, except protected individual retirement-specific records of members/retirees of the Judicial Retirement Plan; establish conflict of interest provisions for System trustees and employees; and mandate that no funds of the Judicial Retirement Plan shall be used to pay unregulated placement agents. Approved by full House 2/14/12.

Missouri HB 1030 Allows all state agencies. including courts, to refer to the department for the collection of any debt owed to them. Approved by House Budget Committee 2/15/12.

New Mexico HB 188 Increases salaries for probate court judges, clerks of court, and other county officials. Approved by full Senate 2/16/12.

New Mexico HB 270 Alters numerous provisions concerning age and eligibility for current and future members of the Judicial Retirement and Magistrate Retirement systems. Approved by House Labor & Human Resources Committee 2/9/12

New Mexico HB 72 Provides that certain amounts of the civil docket and jury fees be deposited into the General Fund. Provides contributions to judicial and magistrate retirement be provided from the General Fund. Increases contributions to judicial and magistrate retirement funds. Strikes existing law that defines "judicial retirement fund" as including "docket and jury fees of metropolitan courts, district courts, the court of appeals and the supreme court." Approved by full Senate 2/16/12.

Oklahoma HJR 1093 Rejects 6% increase in the compensation for members of the State Judiciary as approved by the Board on Judicial Compensation on September 20, 2011. Approved by House Rules Committee 2/15/12.

Oregon HB 4025 Reduces amount payable by municipal or justice court for deposit in Criminal Fine Account from $60 to $45. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/10/12.

South Dakota HB 1058 Increases from $15 to $25 cost for search of court records. Provides cost of transmission for the record search results is included in the fee. Approved by full Senate Appropriations Committee 2/15/12.

South Dakota HB 1065 Repeals the requirement that the Unified Judicial System set forth a schedule for all fees paid directly to court reporters in its annual consolidated budget. Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/16/12.

Tennessee HB 2481 Authorizes the county legislative body of any county having a charter form of government to establish and set fees for court clerks in such manner and amounts as deemed appropriate by the county legislative body Approved by Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee 2/14/12.

Tennessee HB 2496 Removes references to the office of the comptroller of the treasury in connection with the judicial cost accountant. Approved by House State & Local Government Committee 2/7/12.

Tennessee SB 2456 Authorizes the county legislative body of any county having a charter form of government to establish and set fees for court clerks in such manner and amounts as deemed appropriate by the county legislative body Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/14/12.

Virginia HB 837 Clarifies that local salary supplements may be paid to clerks and other local district court employees, excepting district court judges and substitute judges, wholly out of local funds. Approved by Senate Courts of Justice Committee 2/13/12. Approved by full Senate 2/15/12. To Governor for approval.

West Virginia SB 468 Allows Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority to issue bonds. Approved by Senate Finance Committee 2/17/12.

West Virginia SB 471 Authorizes Supreme Court establish mental hygiene commissioners' compensation. Approved by Senate Finance Committee 2/14/12. Approved by full Senate 2/17/12.

Wyoming SB 40 Sets judicial salaries. Approved by House Appropriations Committee 2/17/12.

Selection: Newly Introduced

Alabama HB 311 (Constitutional Amendment) Permits recall of all elected officials, including judges. In House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee.

Alabama HB 346 Provides for nonpartisan elections for circuit and district judges. In House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee.

Illinois HJR 39 (Constitutional Amendment) Provides that, whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of Supreme, Appellate, or Circuit Judge by death, resignation, retirement, removal, or upon the conclusion of the judge's term without retention in office, the Governor shall fill that vacancy by appointing one of 3 qualified persons who are nominated by a nonpartisan judicial commission. Creates separate nonpartisan judicial commissions for the Supreme Court, for each Judicial District, and for each Judicial Circuit. Sets forth the membership of the commissions. In House Rules Committee.

Iowa HB 2289 Requires full-time associate juvenile judge at the time of appointment reside in the judicial election district where the vacancy exists. Requires a full-time associate juvenile judge to reside in the judicial election district in which the office is held during the entire term of office. In House (no committee).

Kansas SB 422 Makes the appointment of a pro tem judge by a chief judge of any judicial district subject to the budget limitations of the district court. Provides that any judge pro tem appointed in this case would be an active status member of the Kansas bar. In Senate Committee on Judiciary.

Mississippi HB 322 Provides for nonpartisan elections for justice court judges. In House Judiciary A Committee.

Mississippi HB 380 Abolishes partisan primaries for judicial and other offices. In House Apportionment and Elections Committee.

Mississippi HB 425 Abolishes partisan primaries for judicial and other offices. In House Apportionment and Elections Committee.

Mississippi HB 529 Abolishes partisan primaries for judicial and other offices. In House Apportionment and Elections Committee.

Mississippi SB 2340 Abolishes partisan primaries for judicial and other offices. In Senate Elections Committee.

Pennsylvania HB 2193 Creates public financing system for appellate court races. In House State Government Committee.

Selection: Floor and Committee Activity

Arizona SB 1371 Ends merit selection and non-partisan judicial elections in state. Requires all judges be elected on partisan ballots. Rejected by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/13/12.

Arizona SCR 1034 (Constitutional Amendment) Ends merit selection and non-partisan judicial elections in state. Requires all judges be elected on partisan ballots. Rejected by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/13/12.

Florida HB 4125 Repeals provisions relating to selection of judges ad litem in circuit or county court. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/16/12.

Florida HB 971 AS AMENDED: Provides that, with exception of members selected from list of nominees provided by Board of Governors of Florida Bar, current member of judicial nominating commission appointed by Governor serves at pleasure of Governor. Provides for each expired term or vacancy to be filled by appointment in same manner as member whose position is being filled. Deletes requirement that Executive Office of Governor establish uniform rules of procedure consistent with State Constitution when suspending for cause member of judicial nominating commission. Provides that filing fees & election assessments paid by certain judges be used for law school scholarships. Approved as amended by House Judiciary Committee 2/16/12.

Georgia HB 899 Moves judicial elections to July. Approved by House Committee on Governmental Affairs 2/16/12.

Georgia HB 949 Moves judicial elections to July. Approved by House Committee on Governmental Affairs 2/16/12.

Structure Changes: Newly Introduced

Iowa HSB 639 Permits creation of full-time magistrate positions at request of district's chief judge and on approval of supreme court. Requires magistrates be attorneys, serve 6 year terms, and be subject to retention elections. Details process and requirements for apportionment of full-time magistrates. Specifies that the chief judge of a judicial district has the authority to designate the time and location a magistrate may hold court to ensure the availability of a magistrate in each county on a regular basis. In House (no committee).

Kansas HB 2746 Delays expanding court of appeals to 14 judges to January 2014. In House Committee of Appropriations.

Mississippi SB 2381 Authorizes creation of domestic abuse courts. In Senate Judiciary B Committee.

Structure Changes: Floor and Committee Activity

Arizona SB 1152 Authorizes but does not require creation of homeless courts as divisions of existing courts. Approved by full Senate 2/16/12.

Arizona SB 1372 Restructures state's Court of Appeals. Reduces judges from 22 (16 in Division 1, 6 in Division 2) to 6 (3 in each division). Permits Court of Appeals retain only 1.0% fees collected (currently 8.36%) and directs remainder go to state general fund. Rejected by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/13/12.

Hawaii HB 2798 Establishes a temporary Hawaii veterans treatment court within the judiciary. Approved House Judiciary Committee 2/14/12.

Other: Newly Introduced

Georgia HB 997 Provides for the new crime of false lien statements against public officers, including all judges, or public employees, including every person employed by the judicial branch. In House Committee on Judiciary Non-Civil.

Illinois HB 5877 Prohibits a person, business, association, or government agency from publicly posting or displaying the personal information of a judicial officer, 3 days after the officer has made a written request to not post or display the personal information. Allows for injunctive or declaratory relief. Prohibits a person, business, or association from soliciting, selling, or trading on the Internet a judicial officer's personal information with the intent to pose an imminent and serious threat to the health and safety of the judicial officer or the officer's immediate family. Allows for treble civil damages of not less than $10,000. Makes it a Class 3 felony to knowingly post personal information of a judicial officer or the officer's immediate family, if the person knows or reasonably should know the posting poses an imminent and serious threat to the health and safety of the officer or the officer's immediate family, and the posting is a proximate cause of bodily injury or death of the judicial officer or a member of the officer's immediate family. Provides an exemption from the felony offense for employees of a government agency acting in good faith, while carrying out a public function. Excludes personal information of a judicial officer covered by the Judicial Privacy Act from being included as a public record under the Freedom of Information Act, and from inspection or copying under the Act. Establishes procedure for the State Board of Elections to redact a judicial candidate's home address from the candidate's certificate of nomination or nomination papers, after conclusion of the Code's objection period. Establishes procedure for the Secretary of State to redact a judicial candidate's home address from the candidate's declaration for retention. Provides that the Secretary of State may allow an applicant who is a judicial officer to provide an office or work address instead of a residence or mailing address on a driver's license. Provides that the Secretary of State shall adopt rules to implement the new provisions. In House Rules Committee.

Illinois HR 790 Urges the Supreme Court to adopt a system for the regular evaluation of associate judges and for the removal of associate judges not performing up to standards. In House Rules Committee.

Illinois SJR 52 (Constitutional Amendment) Permits initiatives that would impose ethical standards/requirements on judicial branch and other officials. In Senate Assignments Committee.

Illinois SJR 55 (Constitutional Amendment) Permits initiatives that would impose ethical standards/requirements on judicial branch and other officials. In Senate Assignments Committee.

Maryland HB 1061 (Constitutional Amendment) Authorizes Commission on Judicial Disabilities to remove a judge from office for refusal to enforce applicable law, rendering a decision contrary to applicable law, or knowingly disregarding applicable law. Provides judge found by commission to have engaged in above conduct forfeits pension. Provides any person may file complaint alleging above with commission. In House Judiciary Committee.

Maryland HB 968 Permits court commissioners to carry a handgun on District Court premises if the commissioner has a valid handgun permit. In House Judiciary Committee.

Michigan SB 943 Creates crimes of threatening public officials or their families, including judges In Senate Committee on Government Operations.

Missouri HB 1754 Specifies that court commissioners, including probate commissioners, have the powers and duties of an associate circuit judge so that their orders, judgments, and decrees will no longer be subject to confirmation or rejection by the circuit judge. Restructures various circuits in state. In House Special Standing Committee on Judicial Reform.

West Virginia HB 4513 Repeals general restrictions on carrying of firearms into courthouses. Limits restriction on carrying of firearms to only those precise locations where judicial proceedings are held. In House Judiciary Committee.

Wisconsin SB 454 Eliminates a provision that requires municipal judges to file the oath and bond with the clerk of the circuit court for which the municipal judge serves. Eliminates a requirement that the clerks of the circuit courts annually send a certified list of all municipal court judges who filed their official bonds with the clerks during the preceding year. In Senate Law Revision Committee.

Wyoming HB 70 Prohibits the carrying of firearms into court buildings generally. In House Judiciary Committee.

Other: Floor and Committee Activity

Alabama HB 17 Allows a judge or other public servant to request to remove a false instrument that has been filed against the public servant to be removed to circuit court and be expedited. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/8/12.

Arizona HB 2449 Amends existing statute regarding performance audits of state administrative office of the courts to require, after audio, House and Senate Judiciary Committees meet jointly and conduct hearing on audit. Approved by House Government Committee 2/14/12.

Arizona HB 2603 Provides financial disclosure statements by judges need not be put online by secretary of state. Approved by House Commerce Committee 2/15/12.

Florida HB 4047 Repeals provisions relating to judicial census commissions. Approved by full House 2/15/12.

Florida HB 4067 Repeals provisions relating to compensation of marshals of district courts of appeal. Approved by full House 2/15/12.

Florida HB 4069 Repeals provisions relating to requirement that county courts be open for voluntary pleas of guilty at all times, Sundays excepted. Approved by full House 2/15/12.

Florida HB 4157 Repeals provisions relating to requirements for quorum & requiring majority for decision for District Courts of Appeal. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/16/12.

Florida HB 631 Repeals provisions relating to regular terms of Supreme Court & circuit courts; requiring judge to attend first day of each term of circuit court; requirement for judge to state reason for nonattendance, penalty for nonattendance of judge, adjournment of circuit court upon nonattendance of judge, calling all cases on docket at end of each term, regular terms of district courts of appeal, special terms of district courts of appeal, requirement that criminal trials be heard in term of court prior to civil cases, & requirement that persons in custody be arraigned & tried in term of court unless good cause is shown; conforms provisions. Allows Supreme Court to set terms of court for Supreme Court, district courts of appeal, & circuit courts. Provides that appellate courts may withdraw mandate within 120 days after its issuance. Approved by full House 2/16/12.

Idaho SB 1222 Deletes references to probate judges and justices of the peace, which were abolished in 1971. Approved by full House 2/14/12. To Governor for approval.

Kansas SB 281 ORIGINAL: Repeals sunset date for commission on judicial performance. AS AMENDED: Extends sunset date to 2015. Approved by as amended Senate Committee on Judiciary 2/15/12. Approved by full Senate 2/16/12.

Maryland HB 92 Clarifies the definition of "shielding" in provisions of law relating to the removal of information regarding domestic violence protective orders from the public website maintained by the Judiciary. Specifies that "shielding" means to completely remove all information concerning the proceeding, including the names of the parties and any reference to the proceeding, from the public website. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/4/12. Approved by full House 2/16/12.

New Hampshire CACR 32 (Constitutional Amendment) Provides that the people of New Hampshire, in a manner established by law, shall be responsible for investigating and evaluating the conduct of members of the judiciary, including imposition of fines. Rejected by full House 2/15/12.

New Hampshire HB 1347 Requires the courts to file reports of complaints against court officers, court staff, and any other person involved in the administration of justice. Rejected by House Committee on Judiciary 2/17/12.

New Mexico HM 61 Requests administrative office of the courts study and identify actions, to include resources needed, to support a request that the New Mexico supreme court appoint a special auditor to conduct a census of open guardianship and conservator proceedings, by district, throughout the state and grant the special auditor access to the probate court case management system, or to case files if required information is not available through an automated or electronic system, in each district. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/11/12. Approved by full House 2/13/12. No further approvals required.

New Mexico SJM 41 Requests administrative office of the courts and the New Mexico association of counties convene a task force and conduct a statewide study to examine alternative, non-judicial adjudicative procedures for traffic offenses. Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/10/12.

Oklahoma HB 2192 Exempts court filings from rules promulgated by Secretary of State under Uniform Electronic Transactions Act. Requires use of e-signature when filing documents with the courts. Approved by House Government Modernization Committee 2/13/12. Approved by full House 2/15/12.

Tennessee HB 2935 Abolishes the court of judiciary. Creates 16-member board of judicial conduct. Changes the burden of proof to investigate a judge to probable cause that misconduct occurred from substantial likelihood that it did. Approved by House Judiciary Subcommittee 2/15/12.

Utah SB 100 Creates a self-help center within a court's law library. Requires that the self-help center be staffed by licensed attorneys. Allows the self-help center staff to assist court patrons in obtaining and filling out documents. Provides that self-help center staff are to answer questions regarding the court process, law, and options; provide information, but not give legal advice; and offer resources regarding the law library and other avenues for legal assistance. Approved by full Senate 2/16/12.

Utah SB 154 Includes court commissioners in the definition of at-risk government employee for purposes of privacy of government-held information related to individuals/officeholders. Approved by full Senate 2/15/12.

Virginia HB 1250 ORIGINAL: Adds to the ranks of the honorary members of the Judicial Conference of Virginia the deans of the Liberty University School of Law and the Appalachian School of Law. AS AMENDED: Also adds president and secretary of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Approved as amended by full Senate 2/14/12. House concurs with Senate amendment 2/17/12. To Governor for approval.

Virginia HB 1284 Clarifies when the clerk of the court may destroy case file papers. Approved by full House 2/14/12.

Virginia HB 745 Requires the Supreme Court to develop a weighted caseload system to assess judicial caseloads throughout the Commonwealth, and using that system, requires the Court to determine the need for judicial positions and the optimum distribution of judicial positions throughout the Commonwealth and to prepare a recommended plan for the realignment of the circuit boundaries. Approved by full House 2/14/12.

Virginia SB 251 AS AMENDED: Provides that certain court fees collected by the clerk of a circuit court shall be deposited into a special revenue fund in the local treasury. Institutes a fee of $25 for recording an order to celebrate the rites of marriage by a non-minister and a convenience fee for paying court fees by credit or debit card. Approved as amended by full Senate 2/14/12.