Update from the Drafting Committee on a Model Veterans Court Act

The Veterans Court Act drafting committee had its second meeting in Washington, DC on February 19-20, 2016. This second meeting was extremely productive and helped the Committee to focus the purpose and language of the Act for its first reading this summer in Stowe, Vermont.

The Committee, with help from the ULC staff, was able to locate and invite extremely knowledgeable and helpful observers to attend the Washington, DC meeting. Observers from Justice For Vets, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the National Center for State Courts, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Black Veterans, and AMVETS added immensely to the conversation about how veterans and active duty servicemembers suffering from mental health or substance use disorders interact with the criminal justice system. The Committee decided at this most recent meeting that the Act should focus on a treatment court model, similar to those found in the drug treatment court and mental health court models. Veterans courts across the country have flourished and continue to grow, often in the absence of state legislation on the scope and breadth of these courts. This ad hoc creation of veterans courts has led to wide variation on which veterans are qualified to participate in these courts and how the veterans’ participation is managed. The growth of these courts is in large part due to the literature that affirms the success of the treatment court model and a respect for the service that these veterans have given our nation.

In this meeting, the Committee was able to offer more precise language in the Act to explain the movement of veterans through the court process, while being careful to respect each court’s autonomy in the creation of these programs. The Committee also robustly supported the addition of special consideration for treatment of defendants and victims of domestic violence. The process of refining that language and preparing the Act for Stowe will last throughout the Spring.

Harry Tindall, Chair, Drafting Committee on a Model Veterans Court Act

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Update from the Drafting Committee on a Model Veterans Court Act

Update on Wage Garnishment Drafting Committee

The Drafting Committee on a Wage Garnishment Act held its last in-person meeting on February 19-20 in Washington, D.C., and we made great progress. We expect to have an outstanding act to present for a final reading this summer in Stowe.

One of our goals has been to provide employees whose wages are about to be garnished with a notification that clearly explains their options, and to this end we have engaged the services of The Plain Language Group and its principal, Dr. Deborah Bosley. We were able to do this thanks to the generosity of the Uniform Law Foundation, the ULC itself, and the American Payroll Association. Dr. Bosley has helped us with the language and formatting of the notification, and she will soon begin testing it with a panel of individuals who meet the characteristics of our target group. An employee who receives the notification will have at least 30 days to take action before the employer begins making deductions from wages.

Last fall, the committee concluded that the protections provided to employees by the act would be of limited utility if they were not extended to bank accounts in which employees deposit their wages. Under the act (and federal law), a certain amount of wages is exempt from garnishment at the employer level so that the employee will have money to live on and an incentive to keep working. The fact that the exempt portion can be reached by garnishment if it is deposited in a bank account undermines our policies, and we have learned that many employees avoid banks because of this risk. Accordingly, we sought and received an expansion of our charge so that we can draft provisions to make already garnished wages exempt from bank garnishment. The new provisions are modeled on provisions of federal law protecting certain federal benefits from bank garnishment, and because banks are already familiar with these provisions we have thus far received positive responses from the banking community.

We will be continuing our efforts throughout the spring and will probably need to hold at least one telephone conference to discuss revised provisions resulting from our discussion at the recent meeting. We see no serious roadblocks ahead, however, and are confident that our act will constitute a great improvement in the law for all concerned – employers, employees, creditors, and the court system itself. We look forward to presenting our work to you at Stowe. The current draft of the Wage Garnishment Act is posted on the ULC website and is available here.

 William H. Henning, Chair, Drafting Committee on a Wage Garnishment Act

Update on Wage Garnishment Drafting Committee

Report from the ABA Midyear Meeting

Six uniform acts were approved by the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates as “appropriate Acts for those states desiring to adopt the specific substantive law suggested therein.” The acts were approved at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting in San Diego, California, February 3-8, 2016. All of the acts were approved by the ULC in 2015.

The six acts that were approved by the ABA/HOD were the:

  • Revised Uniform Athlete Agents Act (further information can be found here);
  • Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act (further information can be found here);
  • Uniform Home Foreclosure Procedures Act (further information can be found here);
  • Uniform Recognition and Enforcement of Canadian Domestic-Violence Protection Orders Act (further information can be found here);
  • Revised Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (further information can be found here); and
  • Uniform Trust Decanting Act (further information can be found here).

Special thanks to Commissioner Bob Stein, our ABA Delegate, Commissioner Tom Bolt, Chair of our Committee on Liaison with the American Bar Association, and Ben Orzeske, ULC Chief Counsel, who all attended the meeting and worked to ensure our successful efforts through the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates.

Rich

Richard T. Cassidy, President, ULC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report from the ABA Midyear Meeting

Report from the ULC Midyear Meeting

Members of the ULC Scope and Program and Executive Committees participated in the 2016 ULC Midyear Meeting, conducted at Amelia Island, Florida.

At the meeting, two new drafting committees, three new study committees and a new monitoring committee, were authorized.

Acting on the recommendations of the Standing Committee on the Uniform Commercial Code and the Permanent Editorial Board for the Uniform Commercial Code, Scope and Program recommended, and the Executive Committee authorized, the appointment of a drafting committee to develop amendments to Article 3 of the UCC with conforming amendments to Articles 1 and 9, to provide the substantive commercial law rules required to support a national electronic registry for mortgage notes. The American Law Institute, the ULC’s partner in drafting the UCC, has also agreed to proceed with this drafting project.

The work of this drafting committee will need to be very closely coordinated with the work of the existing drafting committee on Electronic Registry for Residential Mortgage Notes. I am exploring whether the drafting should have separate, overlapping or identical membership. We also need to coordinate our effort with our UCC partner, the American Law Institute.

The second drafting committee, approved conditionally, is intended to harmonize the law of Caribbean Nations and the U.S. on the Enforcement of Child Custody and Support Orders. The conditions of the approval are that a sufficient number of Caribbean nations demonstrate commitment to the project and that external funding be identified to support the project.

The new study committees all have technology connections. They include a committee to study the feasibility of state legislation on identity management in electronic commerce, one to study the need and feasibility of state legislation relating to event data recorders in cars, and a committee to study legislation concerning the trust management of donated funds to individuals and families, in particular through crowd funding.

A new monitoring committee was authorized to cover the subject of Criminal Justice reform. This Committee will be charged with staying aware of efforts to improve and reform state criminal justice systems and where appropriate, recommend model or uniform law projects.

Other action includes expanding the charge of the Drafting Committee on Wage Garnishment to extend the protections of the Act to include earnings deposited in bank accounts.

The Executive Committee referred proposed technical corrections and crowdfunding provisions from the federal JOBS (Jumpstart our Business Startups) Act to the Reporter or Chair of the Uniform Securities Act to consider whether to recommend amendment of the Act to the Executive Committee under Section 4.3(b)(3) of the Constitution.

Rich

Richard T. Cassidy, President, ULC

 

Report from the ULC Midyear Meeting