Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Second Half Has Begun

Now that the Town Meeting recess is over, the rush to meet the crossover deadline is on. Three of the bills that I have been following and reporting about are on the agenda. First, the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled testimony for this morning on S. 279, the bill that would replace the unanimity requirement in civil juries with an 80% rule. Today the committee will hear from representatives of insurance companies that oppose the move. The bill does not reappear on the committee’s schedule this week so whether it advances to the House by Friday is not clear.
On the House side the House Judiciary Committee hopes to finish its work on two bills: H. 590, the foreclosure mediation bill and, of course, H. 470, judicial restructuring. As of now, I have nothing new to report on either. There is a re-draft of H. 590 for discussion this morning and the committee has set aside time to review and vote on it. Beginning this afternoon and continuing until Friday afternoon, the committee will work on H. 470 with the goal of a writing a bill and having it on the Notice Calendar next Tuesday. I expect a new draft to be distributed this afternoon after the House recesses its floor session for House Judiciary’s joint meeting with the House Government Operations Committee. That session could easily pave the way for both committees to wrap up their work on the bill if there is agreement on the outstanding issues. Without repeating what I reported on February 25th (my last post before the recess), the remaining issues were two: how to pay for the committee’s vision of probate districts and the number of judges and the judicial duties of assistant judges. Again, I have nothing new to report right now but should know more by the end of today. I’ll try to post an update alter today or early tomorrow. Then I’m off to Chicago for the ABA's Bar Leadership Institute for the rest of the week. I’ll do my best to keep you informed along the way. Thanks for reading.

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