Twice each year the Committee on Scope and Program of the Uniform Law Commission (“ULC”) solicits proposals for new study and drafting projects. While many of our project proposals come from uniform law commissioners, we also encourage outside groups and individuals to submit proposals. The following guidelines are derived from the ULC’s “Statement of Policy Establishing Criteria and Procedures for Designation and Consideration of Uniform and Model Acts” and are intended to assist those submitting proposals to better anticipate the kinds of questions that typically arise when the Committee on Scope and Program is considering a proposed new project. To the extent possible, in addition to submitting a description of the proposed project, address the following questions:
Is uniformity of state law for the proposed subject matter desirable and realistic?
While not every ULC act is uniformly adopted verbatim by all states of the United States (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands), we do focus on acts that (directly or indirectly) will promote uniformity among the states in their respective subject matter areas. The ULC generally avoids subjects that are of purely local concern or which are unlikely to be widely enacted because of political differences among the states.
Please address whether widespread enactment of the proposal would produce significant benefits to the public. Acts that reduce uncertainty or compliance costs because the law is made uniform among the states or which respond to a need common to a number of states generally produce such results. Legislation drafted by the ULC avoids the need for each state to develop its own solution. Consider whether the proposed project will:
(a) Facilitate the flow of commercial and other transactions across state lines?
(b) Reduce or eliminate conflicts of law arising when the law of more than one state might apply?
(c) Fill an emergent need, modernize an antiquated concept, or codify the common law?
What have the states already done with regard to this subject?
Information about existing state statutes and ongoing trends is very helpful. Conversely, the ULC tends to avoid subjects that are entirely novel in character.
Does the proposed project require changes in federal laws or regulations?
This is an important question because the ULC works exclusively in subject matter areas that are appropriate for state legislation.
What organizations or interest groups are likely to have an interest in the subject matter of the proposed project and are they likely to support or oppose a uniform or model act in this area?
The ULC strives to produce balanced, enactable legislation. Therefore it is important to identify the appropriate stakeholders and assess whether they are willing to participate in the development of a proposed project.
Are there resources available to support the development of the proposed project?
The development of a uniform or model act generally requires a minimum of one year of study and two years of drafting meetings. The identification of an existing source of expertise with regard to a particular subject and/or the availability of outcome-neutral financial support (from a government or foundation source) is helpful information.
(Revised August 2010)