Master List of Legislative Positions 2016-18
I. FLORIDA BAR LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS
December 9, 2016
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Supports legislation consistent with the Supreme Court of Florida’s certification of need for new judges.
4. 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.
5. Opposes term limits for judges at any level of Florida’s state court system.
6. 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.
7. 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Commission, rules for judicial nominating commission, or rules for practice and procedure in all courts may be repealed by the legislature.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Supports adequate funding for civil legal assistance to indigent persons through the Florida Access to Civil Legal Assistance Act.
11. 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.
13. 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.
15. Supports an adequately funded federal justice system and judiciary.
January 20, 2017
16. Opposes amendment to the Florida Constitution that restricts or overturns the courts' authority to review the constitutional validity of legislation.
17. Opposes amendment to the United States Constitution that restricts or overturns the courts' authority to review the constitutional validity of legislation.
II. COMMITTEE LEGISLATIVE POSITIONS
Consistent with official policy, all legislative positions of The Florida Bar and its committees for the 2014-2016 biennium were formally sunset at the July 29, 2016 meeting of the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar. A new slate of positions for the 2016-2018 legislative biennium will be developed shortly.
January 20, 2017
1. Supports amendments to §§90.202(9) & 90.205, F.S. regarding judicial notice, to modernize language.
2. Supports an amendment to §90.406, F.S. regarding relevance to conform to Fed. R. Evid. 406 and to codify Florida common law.
3. Supports amendments to §§90.603-90.607, F.S. 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 §90.803, F.S. regarding hearsay to make usage/grammatical/punctuation changes and to conform to the Federal Rules of Evidence.
5. Supports amendments to §90.951 F.S. regarding contents of writings, recordings, and photographs to modernize language by adding new technology such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
6. Supports amendments to §§458.3175(2)(b), 459.066(2)(b), and 466.005(2)(b), F.S. to add "if otherwise qualified under Chapters 90 and 766, F.S." at the end of each subdivision so that existing language is not construed as overriding detailed predicates for expert testimony contained in Chapter 766, F.S. and general expert qualifications in Chapter 90 -- with the further understanding that The Florida Bar considers §766.102(12), F.S. to be unconstitutional.
Legal Needs of Children Committee
December 9, 2016
1. Consistent with the 2002 Final Report of The Florida Bar’s Commission on the Legal Needs of Children, The Legal Needs of Children Committee opposes the direct filing of children to adult court in Florida and supports the use of the judiciary as being solely responsible for making the decision as to whether a child should be prosecuted as an adult.
2. Supports legislation that recognizes children sentenced in adult court for more than 10 years have a meaningful opportunity for early release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.