MICHIGAN LAW REVISION COMMISSION

Thirty-Fourth Annual Report to the Legislature

for Calendar Year 1999

 

To the Members of the Michigan Legislature:

 

The Michigan Law Revision Commission hereby presents its thirty-fourth annual report pursuant to section 403 of Act No. 268 of the Public Acts of 1986, MCL 4.1403.

 

The Commission, created by section 401 of Act No. 268 of the Public Acts of 1986, MCL 4.1401, consists of two members of the Senate, with one from the majority and one from the minority party, appointed by the Majority Leader of the Senate; two members of the House of Representatives, with one from the majority and one from the minority party, appointed by the Speaker of the House; the Director of the Legislative Service Bureau or his or her designee, who serves as an ex-officio member; and four members appointed by the Legislative Council. The terms of the members appointed by the Legislative Council are staggered. The Legislative Council designates the Chairman of the Commission. The Vice Chairman is elected by the Commission.

 

Membership

 

The legislative members of the Commission during 1999 were Senator Bill Bullard, Jr. of Highland; Senator Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township; Representative Jennifer Faunce of Warren; and Representative Laura Baird of Okemos. As Legislative Council Administrator, Dianne M. Odrobina was the ex-officio member of the Commission. The appointed members of the Commission were Richard McLellan, Anthony Derezinski, and George Ward. Mr. McLellan served as Chairman. Mr. Derezinski served as Vice Chairman. Professor Kevin Kennedy of Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law served as Executive Secretary. Gary Gulliver served as the liaison between the Legislative Service Bureau and the Commission. Brief biographies of the 1999 Commission members and staff are located at the end of this report.

 

The Commission's Work in 1999

 

The Commission is charged by statute with the following duties:

 

1. To examine the common law and statutes of the state and current judicial decisions for the purpose of discovering defects and anachronisms in the law and to recommend needed reform.

 

2. To receive and consider proposed changes in law recommended by the American Law Institute, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, any bar association, and other learned bodies.

 

3. To receive and consider suggestions from justices, judges, legislators and other public officials, lawyers, and the public generally as to defects and anachronisms in the law.

 

4. To recommend such changes in the law as it deems necessary in order to modify or eliminate antiquated and inequitable rules of law, and to bring the civil and criminal law of this state into harmony with modern conditions.

 

5. To encourage the faculty and students of the law schools of this state to participate in the work of the Commission.

 

6. To cooperate with the law revision commissions of other states and Canadian provinces.

 

7. To issue an annual report.

 

The problems to which the Commission directs its studies are largely identified through an examination by the Commission members and the Executive Secretary of the statutes and case law of Michigan, the reports of learned bodies and commissions from other jurisdictions, and legal literature. Other subjects are brought to the attention of the Commission by various organizations and individuals, including members of the Legislature.

 

The Commission's efforts during the past year have been devoted primarily to three areas. First, Commission members provided information to legislative committees related to various proposals previously recommended by the Commission. Second, the Commission examined suggested legislation proposed by various groups involved in law revision activity. These proposals included legislation advanced by the Council of State Governments, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and the law revision commissions of various jurisdictions within and without the United States. Finally, the Commission considered various problems relating to special aspects of current Michigan law suggested by its own review of Michigan decisions and the recommendations of others.

 

As in previous years, the Commission studied various proposals that did not lead to legislative recommendations. In the case of certain uniform or model acts, the Commission sometimes found that the subjects treated had been considered by the Michigan Legislature in recent legislation and, therefore, did not recommend further action. In other instances, uniform or model acts were not pursued because similar legislation was currently pending before the Legislature upon the initiation of legislators having a special interest in the particular subject. In 1999, Commission members testified before the State Board of Ethics and the Legislature in connection with proposed government ethics legislation.

 

In 1999, the Commission studied the three topics listed below. The Commission recommends immediate legislative action on the second and third topics.

 

The three topics are:

 

(1) Executive Organization Act of 1965.

 

(2) Removing Statutory References to the Juvenile Division of Probate Court.

 

(3) Recent Court Opinions Suggesting Legislative Action.

 

 

Proposals for Legislative Consideration in 2000

 

 

In addition to its new recommendations, the Commission recommends favorable consideration of the following recommendations of past years upon which no final action was taken in 1999:

 

(1) Revisions to the Michigan "Lemon Law", 1995 Annual Report, page 7.

 

(2) Consolidated Receivership Statute, 1988 Annual Report, page 72.

 

(3) Condemnation Provisions Inconsistent with the Uniform Condemnation Procedures Act, 1989 Annual Report, page 15.

 

(4) Amendment of Uniform Statutory Rule against Perpetuities, 1990 Annual Report, page 141.

 

(5) Amendment of the Uniform Contribution among Tortfeasors Act, 1991 Annual Report, page 19.

 

(6) International Commercial Arbitration, 1991 Annual Report, page 31.

 

(7) Tortfeasor Contribution under Michigan Compiled Laws 600.2925a(5), 1992 Annual Report, page 21.

 

(8) Amendments to Michigan's Estate Tax Apportionment Act, 1992 Annual Report, page 29.

 

(9) Amendments to Michigan's Anatomical Gift Act, 1993 Annual Report, page 53.

 

(10) Ownership of a Motorcycle for Purposes of Receiving No-Fault Insurance Benefits, 1993 Annual Report, page 131.

 

(11) The Uniform Putative and Unknown Fathers Act and Revisions to Michigan Laws Concerning Parental Rights of Unwed Fathers, 1994 Annual Report, page 117.

 

(12) Amendments to the Freedom of Information Act to Cover E-Mail, 1997 Annual Report, page 133.

 

(13) The Uniform Conflict of Laws-Limitations Act, 1997 Annual Report, page 151.

 

(14) Amendments to MCL 791.255(2) to Create a Prison Mailbox Rule, 1997 Annual Report, page 137.

 

(15) Amendments to MCL 600.2405 to include Paralegal Expenses as an Item of Recoverable Costs in Civil Litigation, 1997 Annual Report, page 139.

 

(16) Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act, 1997 Annual Report, page 144.

 

(17) Clarify whether MCL 600.1621 invalidates pre-dispute, contractual venue selection clauses, 1998 Annual Report, page 203.

 

Current Study Agenda

 

 

Topics on the current study agenda of the Commission are:

 

(1) Declaratory Judgment in Libel Law/Uniform Correction or Clarification of Defamation Act.

 

(2) Medical Practice Privileges in Hospitals (Procedures for Granting and Withdrawal).

 

(3) Health Care Consent for Minors.

 

(4) Health Care Information, Access, and Privacy.

 

(5) Uniform Statutory Power of Attorney.

 

(6) Uniform Custodial Trust Act.

 

(7) Legislation Concerning Teleconference Participation in Public Meetings.

 

(8) Michigan Legislation Concerning Native American Tribes.

 

(9) Revisions to Michigan's Administrative Procedures Act and to Procedures for Judicial Review of Agency Action.

 

(10) Intergovernmental Agreements under the Michigan Constitution, Art III, 5.

 

(11) Electronic Transactions.

 

The Commission continues to operate with its sole staff member, the part-time Executive Secretary, whose offices are at Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law, East Lansing, Michigan 48824. The Executive Secretary of the Commission is Professor Kevin Kennedy, who was responsible for the publication of this report. By using faculty members at the several Michigan law schools as consultants and law students as researchers, the Commission has been able to operate at a budget substantially lower than that of similar commissions in other jurisdictions. At the end of this report, the Commission provides a list of more than 120 Michigan statutes passed since 1967 upon the recommendation of the Commission.

 

The Legislative Service Bureau, through Mr. Gary Gulliver, its Director of Legal Research, has generously assisted the Commission in the development of its legislative program. The Director of the Legislative Service Bureau continues to handle the fiscal operations of the Commission under procedures established by the Legislative Council.

 

The Commission continues to welcome suggestions for improvement of its program and proposals.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Richard D. McLellan, Chairman

Anthony Derezinski, Vice Chairman

George Ward

Senator Bill Bullard, Jr.

Senator Gary Peters

Representative Jennifer Faunce

Representative Laura Baird

Dianne M. Odrobina