April 2015 Bar Bulletin
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Board Supports Initiative Reform; Deadlocks on Arbitration Bill

 

The following are highlights from the KCBA Board of Trustees meeting held on February 18, convened by KCBA President Steven Rovig.

On behalf of the Public Policy Committee, Rory O'Sullivan briefed the trustees on the Committee's recommendation that the Board adopt a resolution in support of a bipartisan effort in Olympia to improve the ballot initiative process by requiring disclosures about the costs of adopting measures. After discussion, the trustees adopted a resolution that "supports the adoption of reforms in the initiative process that would assure information for voters about the fiscal impact of initiatives and otherwise address the issue of unfunded initiatives." The full text of the resolution is available at www.kcba.org/publicpolicy.

Nic Bacetich, on behalf of the Washington State Association for Justice, and Lori O'Tool, on behalf of Washington Defense Trial Lawyers, offered opposing views about HB1248, a bill that would increase the current case value limits for mandatory arbitration in Superior Court to $100,000, and make other changes to the mandatory arbitration process. It was moved and seconded that the Board endorse HB1248. After discussion, the Board voted 5–5 with one abstention; thus, the motion to endorse the legislation failed. The vote does not alter KCBA's longstanding support for mandatory arbitration.

Rovig briefed the trustees on the status of pending court technology rules, gave a status update on the Child and Family Justice Center, and reported on the statewide judicial evaluation project (see the President's Page column on page 2 for more information on this project). In addition, he reported that KCBA submitted a letter to the Supreme Court, signed by all three law schools, opposing the elimination of required, live CLE credit.

Executive Director Andrew Prazuch directed the trustees to materials in the packet regarding candidates nominated for the open positions on the 2015–2016 Board of Trustees, and several advocacy letters written on behalf of the bar. He gave an update on the status of the communications audit, announced that work is under way on the bylaws revision project, encouraged trustees to attend the Breakfast With Champions, and asked for nominations for the annual awards, which will be presented at the Annual Awards Dinner on June 18.

Treasurer Jennifer Payseno reported that as of December 31, the end of the first half of fiscal year 2015, KCBA had received $2.1 million in revenue, with $1.4 million in expenses, for net income of $646,000. In addition, the Association has $1.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $866,000 in reserves. She also noted that MLK Luncheon revenues and expenses from January were still being processed with more details to be available at the March meeting.

Finally, ABA Delegate James Williams reported on the ABA mid-year meeting and highlighted some issues that were discussed, including resolutions supporting right to counsel for unaccompanied, undocumented immigrant children and repealing "stand your ground" laws.

 

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