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.
|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|