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May

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Lawyers Journal

HOD considers wide-ranging slate of proposals

At its March 27 meeting in Framingham, the MBA House of Delegates approved a large slate of proposals and heard updates from the three ongoing task forces.

According to John Dugan, the Judicial Evaluation Task Force is beginning its work by reviewing policies in states with elected and appointed judiciaries and by meeting with various officials from the state government.

The Same-Sex Marriage Task Force is studying the history of this issue and is conducting an analysis of related past MBA policy decisions, according to chair Mark Mason.

And co-chair Warren Fitzgerald said the 2003 Court Study Task Force is reviewing the recommendations of the Harbridge House Report to determine which issues and recommendations remain valid and of concern.

During his President-Elect's Report, Richard C. Van Nostrand talked about programs he attended at the recent ABA Bar Leadership Institute in Chicago to learn more about bar structure, staff and volunteer roles, governance issues, finances and media relations. The bar-leadership program is one he hopes to replicate on a local level during his term, Van Nostrand said. He also said he is beginning to think about Section Council appointments for the coming year and is meeting with past presidents to get their views of long-term MBA issues.

Among the proposals to the House of Delegates that were discussed and approved were:

•  A recommendation from the Property Law Section Council to support and advocate enactment of Senate Bill No. 1216 (An Act Providing for the Establishment of an Environmental Appeals Board within the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs).

•  A proposal from the Family Law Section Council to approve and file legislation relative to amending M.G.L. c 208 s. 34.

•  A proposal from the Family Law Section Council to approve and file legislation relative to amending M.G.L. c. 208 s. 37.

•  A proposal from the Family Law Section Council to oppose House Bill No. 89 (An Act Making Technical Corrections to the Child Support Laws).

•  A proposal from the Family Law Section Council to oppose House Bill No. 1028 (An Act Relative to Child Support Collection).

•  A proposal from the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Council to support and advocate enactment of Senate Bill No. 1303 (An Act Relative to Training for Law Enforcement in Dealing with Individuals Suffering from Mental Illness and Mental Retardation).

•  A proposal from the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Council to support and advocate enactment of Senate Bill No. 988 (An Act to Improve the Accuracy of Criminal Convictions by Recording Custodial Interrogations).

•  A proposal from the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Council to support and advocate enactment of House Bill No. 748 (An Act to Improve the Accuracy of Eyewitness Identification Procedures).

•  A proposal from the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Council to oppose Senate Bill No. 1082 (An Act Relative to Child Safety and Information Sharing).

•  A proposal from the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Council to oppose Senate Bill No. 1102 (An Act to Establish Partnerships for Children's Safety).

In his report to the HOD, General Counsel Martin Healy thanked members for their support of the MBA's recent Lobby Day for the Courts. He predicted that a number of criminal justice and civil justice reforms would be proposed later in this legislative year. Healy also discussed the recent Supreme Court decision regarding IOLTA funds.

And in her Executive Director's Report, Abigail Shaine announced that more than 70 high schools across Massachusetts would be participating in the program "Conversations on Law & Liberty in Times of Crisis" during May, in recognition of Law Day. She also discussed the success of this year's Mock Trial Competition, which involved 136 schools and more than 200 volunteer lawyers and judges across the state.

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