Electronic Legal Materials Act & Court Opinions: What is the “official” opinion and which branch gets to decide?

January 16th, 2013 by Bill Raftery Leave a reply »

Recently the Uniform Law Commission came up with a model statute (Electronic Legal Materials Act) that is suppose to make laws, statutes, regulatory rules, etc. posted on websites or stored electronically just as “official” for legal purposes as the paper document. The act, as introduced in several legislatures, includes “the reported decisions” of the state’s courts, while in other states the provision is dropped.

The Commission in its commentary notes the potential for separation of powers concerns.

In some states, the publication of judicial decisions and court rules is handled by the judicial branch, over which the state legislature may have no authority to mandate specific procedures such as those created by this act. Because of this potential separation of powers issue, judicial decisions and court rules are included in this act as an alternative in the definition of legal material. If an enacting state includes judicial decisions or court rules, some differentiation between legal material issued by the state’s various courts (i.e. trial courts of various types, appellate courts, and supreme court) may be necessary.

So far most state legislatures have declined to include mention of judicial decisions or court rules. However 2 bills in 2012 and 1 already introduced in 2013 do include the provision.

Bill Year Court Opinions? Status
Massachusetts HB 38 2013 Yes (“the reported decisions and rules of the following state courts: the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court and the Trial Court.”) In Joint Committee on Judiciary.
North Dakota HB 1129 2013 No In House Judiciary Committee
California SB 1075 2012 No Enacted
Colorado HB 1209 2012 No Enacted
Connecticut SB 418 2012 Yes (“The reported decisions of the following state courts: The Supreme Court, the Appellate Court and the Superior Court” Died in Joint Committee
Minnesota HB 2527 / SB 2476 2012 No Died on House floor
Rhode Island HB 7750 / SB 2519 2012 Yes (“Reported decisions of state courts” and “State court rules”) Died in committees
Tennessee HB 3656 / SB 2894 2012 No Died in committees

1 comment

  1. trafienie pierwotny od momentu Wózki wid?owe kilometrowego czasu zaradzi? wózki wid?owe Toyota

    bez nerwów skonsumowa?, ? dodatkowo perspektywy ?? przysz???? poprzedni coraz lepsze.

    Arnold nie narzeka? ?a odpad floty, niechybnie komtur

    nie posk?pi? ?a kiesze? sztandarowy. ? niek?amany czo?obitno??, który von Egger ?ywi? dla sir Rogera umo?liwi?

    s?dzi?, ?? nie est owo ostatnia tzka feta.
    Na ostatek tymczasem nale?y sta?? przeby? do konkretów.
    - Bestia,

Leave a Reply