California Bar Journal
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Legislative alert...
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Under State Bar procedures, members of the Bar may file a specific objection to challenge the accuracy of any of the determinations by the Board of Governors that a legislative position is chargeable to the annual membership fee under Keller v. State Bar (1990) 496 U.S. 1. A challenge by a member to any of the legislative positions listed below must be made individually and in writing.  The written challenge must include the challenger’s name, address, telephone number and bar membership number and should identify the challenged legislative position.

A challenger must sign the challenge, postmarked on or before Jan. 15, 2001, which is the 45th day following the publication date of this issue of the California Bar Journal, or deliver it in person to the State Bar’s San Francisco office by 5 p.m. on or before Jan. 15, 2001, directed to Judy Johnson, Executive Director, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639.  Challengers are still required to submit payment of the 2000 membership fee less only the $5 lobbying deduction. Failure to timely submit a challenge shall constitute a waiver of any right to object to a particular legislative position within this notice.

Objections properly filed within the deadline will be considered by the board of governors at its next regularly scheduled meeting following the deadline or as soon thereafter as the matter may be considered.

The board shall decide whether to give a pro rata refund to the challenger or to submit the dispute for expeditious arbitration before an impartial arbitrator according to procedures described in the January 2000 California Bar Journal.

If the dispute is submitted to arbitration, the arbitration process will determine whether the challenged positions are within the scope of permissible activities for which mandatory fees may be used under applicable constitutional law.

Upon receipt of a properly submitted and timely challenge, the State Bar will place the disputed amount of the challenger’s fee in an interest-bearing escrow account. 

The list of legislative positions approved and determined chargeable on Nov. 3, 2000, by the board of governors for the year 2000 is as follows:

1. Supports proposal to amend Business and Professions Code 6060, 6060.3, 6062 and 6065 concerning the administration of the attorney admissions function.

2. Supports proposal to amend Code of Civil Procedure 17 to provide that a hearing on a demurrer, motion or order to show cause includes a right to oral argument.

3. Supports proposal to amend Code of Civil Procedure 877.6 to shorten the time for the non- settling party to contest a good faith settlement to 20 days if notice of such settlement is personally served.

4. Supports proposal to amend Code of Civil Procedure 2034 to increase the time to demand an exchange of expert witness information to 90 days before trial and increase the time to actually make the exchange to 70 days before trial.

5. Supports proposal to amend Code of Civil Procedure 437c to conform with section 1005 to specify “calendar days” throughout.

6. Supports proposal to amend Code of Civil Procedure 1013 to specifically refer to calendar days and to provide that 10 days are added when the place of mailing is outside California.

Legislative lobbying on these proposals during the year 2001 will be subject to the following policies:

Legislative lobbying funded by the mandatory portion of the annual membership fee will be restricted to bills pertaining only to legislation fixing the annual membership fee, the State Bar’s functions in professional regulation and ethics, or the State Bar’s administration and operations.

The State Bar will treat as optional and nonchargeable the expense of all legislative proposals or positions not related to fixing the amount of the membership fee, regulation of the profession, or the bar’s administration and operation.

The expenses of these matters will be limited to the legislative activities fund. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 6140.05 provides each member with the option to deduct $5 from the annual membership fee for lobbying and related activities outside of the parameters in Keller.

The statute, in addition, limits the State Bar’s expenditures on lobbying deemed nonchargeable under Keller to voluntary membership fees composed of the sum of the $5 paid by those members who do not take the deduction. These voluntary membership fees are accounted for in the legislative activities fund, a special fund.