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Master List of Legislative Positions 2014-16

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I. FLORIDA BAR LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS

II. COMMITTEE LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS
Code and Rules of Evidence Committee
Legal Needs of Children Committee
Additional Pages

III. SECTION LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS
Administrative Law Section
Appellate Practice Law Section
Business Law Section
Criminal Law Section
Elder Law Section
Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section
Family Law Section
Government Lawyer Section
Health Law Section
Public Interest Law Section
Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section
Tax Section
Trial Lawyers Section
Workers' Compensation Section

IV. DIVISION LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS
Out of State Division
Young Lawyers Division



I. FLORIDA BAR LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS

December 12, 2014
1. Opposes amendments to the Florida Constitution that would alter the authority of the Supreme Court of Florida to regulate the admission of persons to the practice of law or the discipline of persons admitted.

2. Supports adequate funding of the state courts system, state attorneys' offices, public defenders' offices, court-appointed counsel, and the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts performing court-related functions.

January 30, 2015
3. Opposes amendment of Article V, Section 2(a) of the Florida Constitution that would restrict the Supreme Court’s authority to adopt rules for practice and procedure in all courts; further opposes any amendment of Article V that would change the manner by which rules of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, rules for judicial nominating commissions, or rules for practice and procedure in all courts may be repealed by the legislature.

4. Supports a merit-based process for selecting Florida judges through independent judicial nominating commissions and opposes any changes to the current JNC process that would impair the independence of the commissions.

5. Supports legislation consistent with the Supreme Court of Florida's certification of need for new judges.

6. Supports language in the Legislative Appropriations Act to permit the payment of government attorneys' Florida Bar membership fees and continuing legal education costs from funds within budget entities.

7. Supports legislation to create reasonable financial student loan assistance for all government lawyers and legal aid attorneys who have served in that capacity for more than 3 years.

8. Supports adequate funding for civil legal assistance to indigent persons through the Florida Access to Civil Legal Assistance Act.

9. To adequately promote and protect the legal rights and remedies of children, supports the development of a comprehensive system and structure for child representation that includes Guardian ad litem representation, Public Defender representation, and legal representation by both government paid counsel and pro bono attorneys by way of legislation substantially similar to the draft legislation approved by the Standing Committee on the legal Needs of Children on November 16, 2009 which would create a statewide program of legal representation with some or all of the following components:
    (a) no child shall be denied the right to have the representation by an attorney for the child appearing on the child's behalf in a dependency case whether volunteer or state paid;

    (b) provides for representation that is paid for by the state of Florida in conjunction with local, foundation or pro bono support in certain critical categories of dependency cases, recognizing that the ability to create such mandatory representation depends on the amount of new and ----dedicated revenue appropriated by the Florida Legislature and subject to the protection of the funding of the GAL program and funding for the Courts; and/or

    (c) permits representation of children in other discretionary categories of children in dependency cases and for other children, recognizing that the ability to create such discretionary representation depends on the amount of new dedicated revenue appropriated by the Florida Legislature and subject to the protection of the current funding of the GAL program and funding for the courts.
10. Supports amendment of Article V, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution, to increase the mandatory retirement age for justices and judges, from 70 years to 75 years of age.

11. Supports adequate funding of the Legal Services Corporation by the federal government, and opposes any funding cuts.

12. Supports a pay increase for the federal judiciary.

13. Supports an adequately funded federal justice system and judiciary.

14. Supports HR 2936 – the Protecting Immigrants from Legal Exploitation Act – in the U.S. Congress, to provide protection to individuals harmed by nonlawyers in the immigration area and to provide for penalties against those who violate the law.

15. Supports the preservation of, and opposes policies and procedures that have the effect of eroding, the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine, both of which are essential to maintaining the confidential relationship between client and attorney required to encourage clients to discuss their legal matters fully and candidly with their counsel so as to:
    (a) promote compliance with law through effective counseling;

    (b) ensure effective advocacy for the client;

    (c) ensure access to justice; and

    (d) promote the proper and efficient functioning of the American adversary system of justice.
16. To provide enhanced protection for attorney work product and attorney-client privilege, supports amendment of F.S. §119.071 revising the exemption from the attorney’s work product of a public agency; and supports amendment of F.S. §286.011 revising the criteria for the attorney-client sessions of a public agency.

17. Supports a comprehensive review of Florida’s entire death penalty process by all branches of government.



II. COMMITTEE LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS

Code and Rules of Evidence Committee

January 30, 2015
1. Supports amendments to F.S. §§90.202(9) & 90.205 regarding judicial notice, to modernize language.

2. Supports an amendment to F.S. §90.406 regarding relevance to conform to Fed. R. Evid. 406 and to codify Florida common law.

3. Supports amendments to F.S. §§90.603-90.607 regarding witnesses to make provisions consistent with other statutes and federal rule counterparts, to clarify that a child testifying must understand both the need to tell the truth and the duty not to lie, and the standard for determining the need for an interpreter and to ensure that the interpreter is properly qualified.

4. Supports revisions to four subdivisions of F.S. §90.803 regarding hearsay to make usage/grammatical/punctuation changes and to conform to the Federal Rules of Evidence.

5. Supports amendments to F.S. §90.951 regarding contents of writings, recordings, and photographs to modernize language by adding new technology such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

6. Supports amendments to F.S. §§458.3175(2)(b), 459.066(2)(b), and 466.005(2)(b), to add "if otherwise qualified under Chapters 90 and 766" at the end of each subdivision so that existing language is not construed as overriding detailed predicates for expert testimony contained in Chapter 766 and general expert qualifications in Chapter 90 -- with the further understanding that The Florida Bar considers F.S. §766.102(12) to be unconstitutional.

Legal Needs of Children Committee
Consistent with official policy, all legislative positions of The Florida Bar and its committees for the 2012-2014 biennium were formally sunset at the July 25, 2014 meeting of the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar. A new slate of positions for the 2014-2016 legislative biennium will be developed shortly.

[Revised: 02-20-2015]