Week ahead: Public financing of judicial campaigns in MD, drug testing judges & judicial elections in TN, restructuring clerks of court in GA

Legislatures Coming Into Session

Oklahoma 2/6/12
Alabama 2/7/12
Connecticut 2/8/12

Committee Activity of Note

February 6

February 7

Georgia House Judiciary Civil Committee, Lane Subcommittee

HB 665 Restructures the offices of the Clerks of Superior Court.  Alters provisions with respect to appointment and succession to office of clerk. Changes provisions related to storage of paper and electronic documents. Increases bond amount at appointment to $1 million.

Maryland Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee

SB 181 Establishes Task Force to Study the Public Financing of Judicial Elections. Requires Task Force study and develop a proposal regarding the public financing of judicial elections in the State on or before December 31, 2012.

Missouri House Special Standing Committee on Judicial Reform

Presentation from the Missouri Supreme Court & Judge Mary Russell.

South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee

SB 1055 Changes membership of state Judicial Council to include Chief Judge of Court of Appeals, person recommended by the Charleston School of Law, one person recommended by the South Carolina Bar (rather than the President of the Bar, and two summary court (rather than magistrate court) judges.

Tennessee House Judiciary Committee

HB 173 Requires election of all judges, including appellate and supreme court judges.

HB 1198 AS AMENDED: Reconstitutes the membership of the Court of the Judiciary (COJ) effective October 1, 2011, and revises the appointment requirements. Reduces, from 16 to 12, the number of COJ members. Removes the appointment authority of the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Tennessee Bar Association, and the Governor. Authorizes the Speakers of House and the Senate to each appoint six members. Reduces, from four to two years, the term of each member of the COJ. Requires the COJ to file a quarterly report with the Chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees detailing the number of complaints for the previous quarter, the disposition of each complaint, and the status of any investigations. Requires the expenses incurred in the administration of this chapter to be paid through the Secretary of State’s office rather than the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).

Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee

SJR 45 (Constitutional Amendment) Allows compensation of judges to be decreased or diminished during term of office as provided by law for judicial misconduct while in office.

February 8

Tennessee House Judiciary Sub-committee

HB 2432 Requires drug testing of elected officials. Requests Tennessee supreme court to require drug testing of judges.

HB 3034 Prohibits a court clerk from accepting the filing of another claim by a litigant who owes fees, taxes, costs and other expenses unless the litigant seeks injunctive relief to prevent irreparable injury or serious physical harm to the litigant.

South Carolina House Judiciary Committee, Constitutional Law Subcommittee

HB 3490 Bans use of “foreign law” by state courts.

February 9

February 10