PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwired - February 12, 2016) - In a move to reorganize and define functions of the Arizona State Bar, State Representative Anthony Kern has sponsored two House Bills 2221 and 2219, concerning the regulation of attorneys. On February 10, 2016 both were passed by the House Judiciary Committee. This is an important milestone for change in a positive direction.
Despite the Arizona Bar Association stating they are doing everything right, many people testified to the contrary about abuses from attorneys who are not even penalized for fraud or malpractice and robbed many Arizona citizens for their hard earned money and/or have destroyed families.
However, the fight to pass the bills is still not over. These bills still have to be presented to the House caucuses and then they are presented on the House Floor for a vote. If they pass, then they start the whole process on the Senate side.
According to Rep. Kern, "The bills resolve the conflict of interest that exists when you have a state bar with both regulatory and trade association powers."
This would place the regulatory and licensing functions with the Supreme Court of the state of Arizona and remove the mandated membership dues for attorneys from the State Bar of Arizona that are used for lobbying, but not protecting the Arizona citizens. Further, these bills require the State Bar of Arizona to be more transparent and regulated as they are in other states like Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.
The State Bar in its current state, uses the dues for political purposes, much like a trade association. Therefore, the bills would mandate that the Supreme Court receive mandatory dues, which covers enumerated regulatory costs. The State Bar may still receive voluntary dues, which may be used for legal, non-regulatory purposes. This intentional separation of monies is important for it provides for clarity and understanding of what is mandatory versus voluntary contributions and how each can be used.
The legal basis for this legislation is a Supreme Court case, Keller v. State Bar of California. In this case the court found that mandatory dues may be used only for regulatory purposes and not for the exercise of political speech and ideological matters. Such activities put the State Bar members at risk and open up the potential of future litigation and costs to the Arizona citizens by paying more taxes to cover the lawsuits!
House Representative Kern and other proponents of the bills believe that these measures would protect the people of Arizona by providing transparency, regulation and fairness for every attorney.
For further information on Arizona legislation: http://azleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=26&clip_id=16726
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