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CSG Approves Four Uniform Acts as Suggested State Legislation

(June 22, 2015) -

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

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

For Immediate Release:

COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS APPROVES FOUR NEW UNIFORM ACTS
AS “SUGGESTED STATE LEGISLATION”

June 22, 2015 – Four uniform acts were approved recently by the Council of State Governments (CSG) as “Suggested State Legislation” at the CSG’s Leadership Forum in Washington, DC.  The Uniform Act on the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking, the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act, the Uniform Recognition of Substitute Decision Making Documents Act, and the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (2014 Amendments) – all approved as “suggested state legislation” – were all drafted and approved by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC).

The Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act improves the understanding of penalties that attach when an individual is convicted of an offense, and in appropriate circumstances, offers a mechanism to provide partial relief from the disabilities.  The Act facilitates notification of collateral consequences before, during, and after sentencing. Under the provisions of the Act, states are to create a collection of all collateral consequences, with citations and descriptions of the relevant statutes. Individuals will be advised of the particular collateral consequences associated with the offense for which they are charged at or before arraignment. Notice is also to be given at the time of sentencing, and if an individual is sentenced to prison, at the time of release.  The Act also provides mechanisms for relieving collateral sanctions imposed by law. The Act creates an “Order of Limited Relief,” designed to relieve an individual from one or more collateral consequence based on a showing of fitness for reentry. The Order does not automatically remove the consequence, but does remove the automatic disqualification imposed by law. A state agency remains able to disqualify an individual on a case by case basis. The Act also creates a Certificate of Restoration of Rights. The Certificate is granted to individuals who demonstrate a substantial period of law-abiding behavior consistent with successful reentry and desistance from crime. Issuance of a Certificate facilitates reintegration of those individuals who have demonstrated an ability to live a lawful life.  The Uniform Act was approved by the ULC in 2009, amended in 2010, and has been enacted in one state.

The Uniform Act on the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act is a comprehensive new law directed against human trafficking.  Human trafficking – a form of modern day slavery – is a global concern that affects the United States on federal, state, and local levels.  The federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 identifies two primary forms of human trafficking:  sex trafficking and labor trafficking.  The Uniform Act provides the three components necessary for ending human trafficking:  comprehensive criminal provisions; provisions for victim services; and the establishment of a coordinating body to help government and non-government organizations coordinate their human trafficking activities.  A comprehensive uniform act will enable federal, state, and local agencies to better identify victims, provide needed services, and facilitate prosecution.  It was approved by the ULC in 2013, and at least seven states have enacted substantial provisions from the act.

The Uniform Recognition of Substitute Decision Making Documents Act, approved by the ULC in 2014, has been enacted in one state to date.  Substitute decision-making documents are widely used in every U.S. State and Canadian Province for both financial transactions and health care decisions.  These documents are commonly called powers of attorney, proxies, or representation agreements, depending on the jurisdiction, and the law governing their use also varies from place to place.  Consequently, a person’s authority under a decision-making document may not be recognized if the document is presented in a place outside the state of its origin.  In our modern mobile society, this can create serious problem problems for the people who rely on their agents to make decisions when they cannot do so for themselves.  However, a person asked to accept a decision-making document from out of state faces problems as well.  Because the law varies by jurisdiction, significant legal research may be required to determine whether a foreign document actually complies with the law where it was executed.  The Uniform Recognition of Substitute Decision-making Documents Act (URSDDA) is the result of a joint project between the Uniform Law Commission and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada to resolve these problems.  The act employs a three-part approach to portability modeled after the Uniform Power of Attorney Act: 

  1. The act recognizes the validity of a substitute decision-making document for use in the enacting state if the document is valid as determined by the law under which it was created.
  2. The act preserves the meaning and effect of a substitute decision-making document as defined by the law under which it was created regardless of where the document is actually used.
  3. The act protects the persons asked to accept a foreign document from liability for either acceptance or rejection, if they comply with the law in good faith.

Amendments to the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act were approved by the ULC in 2014, and have been adopted to date in seven states.  The Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act was promulgated in 1984 and has been enacted by 46 jurisdictions.  The 2014 amendments are the first made to the act since its original promulgation. The amendments address a small number of narrowly-defined issues, and are not a comprehensive revision.  The principal features of the amendments include:  name change to the “Uniform Voidable Transactions Act”; addition of choice of law rule for claims of the nature governed by the act; addition of new rules allocating the burden of proof and defining the standard of proof with respect to claims and defenses under the act.

Further information on each of these Uniform Acts can be found at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.  

About “Suggested State Legislation”
Suggested state legislation is a compilation of draft legislation from state statutes on topics of current interest and importance to the states.  For more than 60 years, The Council of State Governments’ Suggested State Legislation (SSL) program has informed state policy-makers on a broad range of legislative issues, and its national Committee on Suggested State Legislation has been a model on interstate dialogue.

SSL Committee members represent all regions of the country. They are generally legislators, legislative staff and other state governmental officials who contribute their time and efforts to assisting the states in the identification of timely and innovative state legislation.

About the Uniform Law Commission
The Uniform Law Commission is comprised of more than 350 practicing lawyers, governmental lawyers, judges, law professors and lawyer-legislators, who are appointed by each state, 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 laws where uniformity is desirable and practical.  Now in its 124th year, the ULC has provided states with over 250 uniform acts that help bring clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law.

About the Council of State Governments
The Council of State Governments is the country’s only organization serving all three branches of state government.  CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships.

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