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California Lawyers Association

Association Governmental Affairs Policies

I. The Association may (a) take positions on legislation, regulations, or rules; (b) propose legislation, regulations, or rules; or (c) work with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, and other stakeholders, if:

1. The matter is necessarily or reasonably related to the regulation of the legal profession or improvement of the quality of legal services available to the people of the state;

2. The position advocated would promote clarity or consistency in the law; or

3. The matter is substantially related to the practice of law or the legal profession. And

4. The requested position is not in conflict with a current or prior position of a Section or the Association, unless justification is given for changing such position.

5. Involvement by the Association in or comments on governmental affairs matters that are ideological or highly controversial or divisive within the bar or society are disfavored. 1

OR

5. Involvement by the Association in or comments on governmental affairs matters that are ideological or highly controversial or divisive within the bar or society are disfavored. After considering whether a governmental affairs matter may be ideological or highly controversial or divisive within the bar or society, the Association determines that the matter is consistent with the mission of the Association, and that the risks of taking a position are acceptable.

OR

5. Delete item #5.

II. The Association is prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for elective public office.

Governmental Affairs Committee of the Association 1. The Association Board shall create a Governmental Affairs Committee (“GAC”) comprised of seven (7) members with staggered two (2) year terms to:

a. advise the Board on governmental affairs matters;

b. hear requests for the Association to take positions on or propose legislation, regulations, or rules; and

c. resolve disputes between the Governmental Affairs Officer (“GAO”) and a Section over whether a Section may take a requested position or submit an amicus brief. 2

2. At least one Board member3 shall be appointed to the GAC and serve as chair, other subcommittee members may be Board or Section members, but all GAC members must have demonstrated governmental affairs experience.

3. GAO/Section Dispute Resolution Procedures

a. If there is a dispute between the GAO and a Section on a governmental affairs matter that cannot be resolved by discussions between the GAO and the Section, or amongst the Sections in the event of an inter-Section dispute, the GAO or a Section may submit a written request to the Chair of the GAC for the GAC to resolve the dispute. The party submitting the request shall copy the other party on its request.

b. Within five (5) business days of receipt of notice of a dispute resolution request, or another period mutually agreed upon by the parties and the GAC, the parties shall submit separate written statements to the Chair of the GAC setting forth their respective positions on the dispute. Within twenty four (24) hours of receipt the Chair shall distribute the statements to the other members of the GAC.

c. Within seven (7) business days after receipt of the dispute statements, or another period mutually agreed upon by the parties and the GAC, the GAC shall meet telephonically to hear the dispute. The GAC shall apply the Association’s Section governmental affairs policy standards in its determination of the dispute.4 A two thirds vote5 of the GAC members present at the dispute meeting shall be required to resolve the dispute in favor of the requesting party. If the position of the requesting party receives less than a two thirds majority of the GAC members present at the hearing, the position of the GAO regarding the dispute shall stand. d. Within one (1) business day of the conclusion of a dispute meeting the Chair of the GAC shall inform the parties to the dispute, in writing, of the outcome of the dispute meeting.

e. [appeals to the full Association board procedure]

4. Association Position Request Procedure

a. A party requesting the Association to (a) take positions on legislation, regulations, or rules; (b) propose legislation, regulations, or rules; (c) file amicus briefs; or (d) work with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government or other stakeholders shall submit a written request to the Chair of the GAC for the GAC to consider the request. The request shall include a written statement in support of the requested action. Within twenty four (24) hours of receipt the Chair shall distribute the statement to the other members of the GAC.

b. Within seven (7) business days after receipt of the request the GAC shall meet telephonically to consider the request. The GAC shall apply the Association’s governmental affairs policy [I.1-5 above] in its determination of whether to forward the request to the Association Board. A two thirds vote of the GAC members present at the request meeting shall be required to forward the request.6

f. Within one (1) business day of the conclusion of a request meeting the Chair of the GAC shall inform the requesting party of the GAC’s determination of the request.

g. In the event the GAC votes to forward the request to the Association Board, the Board shall consider the request at the earlier of its next scheduled meeting or a telephonic meeting within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the GAC’s determination. The Board shall apply the Association’s governmental affairs policy in its determination of whether to grant the request. A two thirds vote of the Board members present at the meeting shall be required to approve a request.

Footnotes

1 The Legislation Committee has yet to reach a consensus on I.5 and is still debating the 3 alternatives listed. Based on the last committee meeting, the majority of the members support the first alternative, but we would appreciate your thoughts on the three alternatives.

2 Legislation Committee has yet to reach a consensus on whether the Government Affairs Committee should oversee the proposed amicus and request for publications committees that may be established by the Board.

3 The subcommittee is not unanimous on the need for the chair of the GAC to be a Board member.

4 The policy referred to in this provision is the germaneness and conflict standards being developed by the Section Legislation Policy Subcommittee.

5 The Association Legislation Policy Subcommittee is not unanimous on the two thirds vote threshold. At least one subcommittee member is in favor of a simple majority vote threshold.

6 One Subcommittee member requested the following comment be included regarding the vote threshold: “This screening function is not designed to resolve any dispute. Rather, this is a procedural hurdle to enable access to the Board. With respect to this function, I feel that it is inadvisable to deny access to the Board unless the proposer can muster in support 5 out of the 7 votes on the Committee.”

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