Law-library resolution, section changes among items passed by House of Delegates

Thursday, Jun. 4, 2015
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Photo Credit: Jason Scally

The Massachusetts Bar Association's House of Delegates (HOD) convened for its final meeting of the 2014-15 membership year on Thursday, May 28, at the MBA's Boston office, where HOD members voted to approve several recommendations.

Following the officers' reports, MBA Chief Legal Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy gave an update on the state's 2016 fiscal budgeting process, particularly as it related to court funding, criminal justice attorney compensation and legal aid. He also presented two matters that were voted on separately -- approval of ABA delegates and EMB members -- which HOD members passed unanimously.

Susan G. Anderson, chair of the Access to Justice Section Counsel, introduced a resolution, which was approved by HOD members, stating that "the MBA urges all to recognize that Trial Court Law Libraries are key to providing access to justice by serving self-represented litigants, the public and lawyers, including lawyers providing pro bono services, and that these positions be funded and filled by the Trial Court."

Two changes to the MBA's Section Council structure were also passed by the HOD. First, HOD members approved the request of the Immigration Law Section Council, introduced by Chair Jennifer Klein, to disband the Immigration Section and become a practice group under the Access to Justice Section. In addition, HOD members voted affirmatively to change the name of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section to the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section, following a presentation by Michelle A. Keith, the section's chair.

Taxation Law Section Council Chair David Saliba then spoke briefly about updating the "innocent spouse rules" in Massachusetts, which help rectify the inequities that sometimes affect married taxpayers filing jointly due to strict adherence to the rule of joint and several liability for tax deficiencies. Unlike the federal innocent spouse rules, which were updated in 1998, Massachusetts' innocent spouse rules have remained virtually unchanged. HOD members voted affirmatively to file legislation to amend the innocent spouse rules in Massachusetts (M.G.L. c. 62(C), sec. 84) to make them harmonious with the federal rules.

The HOD meeting marked the last one under MBA President Marsha V. Kazarosian, who, after providing an update of recent and upcoming events, offered heartfelt thanks to her fellow officers and HOD members for their support. Her fellow MBA officers also took time during their officer reports to praise Kazarosian's leadership during the past year.