California Bar Journal
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April 15 deadline to challenge bar's legislative program
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Under State Bar procedures, members 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 at the end of these instructions 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 April 15, which is the 45th day following the publication date of this issue of the California Bar Journal, or delivered in person to the State Bar’s San Francisco office by 5 p.m. on or before April 15, directed to Marie Moffat, Acting Executive Director, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco 94105-1639.

Challengers are still required to submit payment of the 2000 membership fee less only the $5 lobbying deduction. Failure to submit a timely 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 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 proposals for 2000 approved and determined chargeable on Feb. 5 by the board follows:

1. Supports Judicial Council proposal on changes to court’s reference authority to modify the court’s reference authority under Code of Civil Procedure 638 et seq. to clarify that discovery references should be made only when exceptional circumstances of the case require, to require that a court make a specific finding about the parties’ ability to pay the referee’s fees, to clarify that counsel’s ability to pay the referee’s fees may not be considered when determining whether the parties are able to pay these fees and to require that the court’s reference order includes the maximum hourly rate the referee may charge and, if required by a party, the estimated maximum number of hours for which the referee may charge.

2. Supports AB 592 (Migden), which would increase juror fees and create a pilot project to reimburse jurors for child or dependent care expenses.

3. Supports SB 1184 (Murray), which would increase the number of judgeships in the California trial and appellate courts.