Legislative Committee News

2019 Legislative Update - Message from LDJA President, Judge Lisa Woodruff-White

The LDJA Legislative Committee reviews and expresses a position on bills having a positive or negative impact on the administration of justice.  During this year’s legislative session, our legislative team of Judge Robert Morrison, Judge Glen Ansardi, and Darryl Schultz, have been working diligently to ensure the LDJA’s position is heard on bills of interest. Despite diligent efforts of our team at the Capitol, a few bills which may have a negative impact on the administration of justice have advanced out of Committee hearings and will be in a posture for consideration by the full House. If you are concerned about the impact these bills will have on the administration of justice in your court, then I would encourage you to talk to your local legislators as soon as possible. The bills of concern are as follows:

House Bill 75 expands public records review to confidential stages of Judiciary Commission proceedings. The LDJA took a position that this bill will have a negative impact on the administration of justice. The bill was amended during committee hearings and is scheduled for consideration on the House floor.

House Bill 372 reduces civil jury thresholds to $5,000; increases tort prescription to two years; discounts medical expenses as collateral source; eliminates direct action. The LDJA took a position only on the jury threshold aspect of this bill as having a negative impact on the administration of justice. This bill has passed the House Civil Law Committee and the House floor. It will next be considered by the Senate.

Senate Bill 118 mandates oral argument in contested civil rules. The LDJA took a position that this bill will have a negative impact on the administration of justice. The author (Sen. Milkovich) agreed to amend the bill, but it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee as written and will be considered on the Senate floor.

House Bill 255 delays the effective date of the 2017 JRI provision regarding legal financial obligations of criminal defendants until 2021. The delay doesn’t apply to provisions relative to the authority to suspend a defendant’s driver’s license. The LDJA believes this bill will have a positive impact on the administration of justice. The bill was adopted on the House floor as amended and will move to the Senate.

The complete list of bills on which the LDJA took a position is posted here.

Legislative Work Prior to 2019 Legislative Session

The LDJA sought commentary to Canon 4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, requesting further instructions on allowable judicial and legislative interaction.
The Supreme Court Judicial Administrator provided a response to that request in the form of a letter. See the resolutions and the letter below:
LDJA Resolution on Canon 4 Commentary
LCJFCJ Resolution on Canon 4 Commentary
Letter of the LASC Judicial Administrator - Acceptable Judicial Interaction with the Legislature, March 13, 2019.

Jennifer Eagan