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ABA HOD Approves Five Uniform Acts

(February 6, 2017) -

Uniform Law Commission
111 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 1010, Chicago, IL  60602
312/450-6600, Fax 312/450-6601, www.uniformlaws.org

Contact:  Katie Robinson, ULC Communications Officer, krobinson@uniformlaws.org

For Immediate Release:

ABA Approves Five New Uniform Acts

February 6, 2017 – Five new uniform acts have been approved by the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates as “appropriate Acts for those states desiring to adopt the specific substantive law suggested therein.” The acts were approved at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting in Miami, Florida, February 1-7, 2017.  All of the acts were drafted and approved by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) in 2016.

Today, most individuals have online accounts of some type.  These include social media accounts, bank accounts, and email accounts, among others.  Generally, when someone asks for access to the login information for, or content of, a personal online account, an individual is free to say no.  But that is less true in the employment and educational contexts.  Indeed, employers and educational institutions now sometimes ask current and/or prospective employees and students to grant the employer or school access to social media or other name and password protected accounts.  The Uniform Employee and Student Online Privacy Protection Act addresses both employers’ access to employees or prospective employees’ social media and other online accounts accessed via username and password or other credentials of authentication as well as educational institutions’ access to students’ or prospective students’ similar online accounts.

States’ laws vary when it comes to arbitrating family law matters such as spousal support, division of property, child custody, and child support.  The Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act standardizes the arbitration of family law.  It is based in part on the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act, though it departs from the RUAA in areas in which family law arbitration differs from commercial arbitration, such as: standards for arbitration of child custody and child support; arbitrator qualifications and powers; protections for victims of domestic violence.  This Act is intended to create a comprehensive family law arbitration system for the states.  It is an overlay statute meant to work together with the state’s existing choice-of-law rules and contractual arbitration law.

The Uniform Unsworn Domestic Declarations Act builds upon the Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act, which covers unsworn declarations made outside the United States.  This new Uniform Act permits the use of unsworn declarations made under penalty of perjury in state courts when the declaration was made inside the U.S.  States that have already enacted the Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act (UUFDA) should enact this act. 

The Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act builds upon the Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act (UUFDA), which covers unsworn declarations made outside the boundaries of the United States, and the Uniform Domestic Declarations Act (UUDDA), which covers unsworn declarations made inside the U.S.  States that have not enacted the Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act should enact this Act, which essentially combines both the UUFDA and the UUDDA into one comprehensive Act.

Currently, every state has a different wage garnishment law and process.  This means that employers who do business across multiple states must know and abide by a different, and often complex, law for each jurisdiction.  If employers make processing errors calculating garnishments, they may face civil penalties.  The Uniform Wage Garnishment Act seeks to simplify and clarify wage garnishments for employers, creditors, and consumers by standardizing how the wage garnishment process works and offering plain-language notice and garnishment calculation forms.  The UWGA creates a standard system for wage garnishments that is largely removed from the courts, operates efficiently thereby reducing costs, and provides employees with plain-language notification of their rights and obligations as well as providing them with other protections.  The UWGA applies only to what is sometimes called a “debt garnishment,” meaning a garnishment by a creditor with a money judgment.

Information on each of these uniform acts is available at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.

The Uniform Law Commission, now in its 125th year, provides states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law.  The organization comprises more than 300 lawyers, judges, and law professors, appointed by the states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to research, draft and promote enactment of uniform state laws in areas of state law where uniformity is desirable and practical.  Since its inception in 1892, the group has promulgated more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, and the Uniform Partnership Act.

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