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ULC Study and Drafting Committees to be Appointed

(July 20, 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  

NEW DRAFTING AND STUDY COMMITTEES TO BE APPOINTED

July 20, 2015 — At its recently-concluded 2015 Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, the Executive Committee of the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) authorized the appointment of two new drafting committees and three new study committees.

The new drafting committees are:

Drafting Committee on a Uniform Electronic Registry for Residential Mortgage Notes
The development of securitization as a common practice with regard to residential mortgage notes has created the need for a more efficient and less costly means than the current paper-based rules of UCC Article 3 to identify who is entitled to enforce a residential mortgage note and how the debt evidenced by the note is transferred.  A more efficient system will benefit not only those engaged in the secondary mortgage market, but also note obligors who will have a clear, certain, and easily accessible way to determine who is the person entitled to enforce their obligation, and thus the person with whom they must deal with regard to enforcement related issues such as payoff and loan modification.  Given the importance of the secondary mortgage market to the availability of capital for residential mortgage loans, a more efficient system is likely to benefit home buyers seeking residential mortgage loans as well.  The drafting committee will develop a uniform electronic registry for residential mortgage notes that will be national in its effect, taking into account among other things the appropriate relationship between the registry and other law.

 Drafting Committee to Revise the Uniform Principal and Income Act
Originally enacted in 1931 and then revised in 1962, the Uniform Principal and Income Act (UPAIA) was last comprehensively revised in 1997.  Much has changed in the nearly two decades since then.  The drafting committee will undertake a number of revisions to bring the UPAIA up to date and to add a unitrust provision.  Modern trust law requires a trustee to invest for the best total return and simultaneously to treat income and remainder beneficiaries impartially.  In order to fulfill these duties, a trustee should be able to make adjustments between income and principal or to make a unitrust election.  The drafting committee will address other issues, including the treatment of money that a trust receives in partial liquidation of an entity in which the trust owns an interest, and the allocation of capital gains to income for income tax purposes.

The new study committees are:

Study Committee on Involuntary Pornography
Revenge porn is the common name for what is more accurately termed “nonconsensual pornography” – the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent.  This includes images originally obtained without consent, as well as images originally obtained with consent, usually within the context of a private or confidential relationship.  Nonconsensual pornography is particularly problematic when a victim’s name and contact information are disclosed along with the photos.  This leads to harassment, stalking, and solicitation by strangers who have seen the images, and can also result in destruction of reputation and lost employment opportunities.  The internet compounds such effects because it provides a convenient conduit for nonconsensual pornography to be disseminated and spread rapidly.  The study committee will study the need for and feasibility of state legislation to provide remedies for people who are victimized by involuntary pornography.

Study Committee on Model Equal Rights Act
Over the last several years, advancement of civil rights at the federal level has slowed and advancements against discrimination have practically halted.  The United States Commission on Civil Rights is no longer as powerful a voice as in the past.  One state has enacted legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment based on race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, or sex (including maternity and pregnancy), and another has enacted equal rights legislation making it illegal for employers and landlords to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, except in cases involving religious organizations and their affiliates.  The study committee will consider the need for and feasibility of model state legislation on a comprehensive equal rights act.

Study Committee on Regulation of Drones
Unmanned aircraft systems, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have a range of applications, including law enforcement, wildlife tracking, search and rescue, land surveillance, border patrol, disaster response, and photography.  The FAA’s drone regulation largely focuses on regulation of the national airspace, with the ultimate goal of integrating drones into that airspace.  Several states have enacted legislation addressing law enforcement use of drones.  Some states have created crimes based on unlawful use of a drone, and have created civil penalties; these enactments, as well as those limiting police drone use, aim to protect civilian privacy.  While Congress has considered three privacy-related drone bills, it has not enacted any of those bills.  Given the federal focus on airspace regulation, issues such as privacy and police use of drones have fallen to the states.  The study committee will study the need for and feasibility of state legislation concerning the regulation of the use of drones.

Further information on the new drafting and study committees, as well as information on the Uniform Law Commission, can be found at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.

Drafting committees, composed of commissioners, with participation from observers, advisors and reporter-drafters, meet throughout the year.  Tentative drafts are not submitted to the entire Commission until they have received extensive committee consideration.

Proposed acts are subjected to rigorous examination and debate before they become eligible for designation as ULC products.  The final decision on whether an act is ready for promulgation to the states is made near the close of an annual meeting, on a vote by states basis, with an affirmative vote of twenty or more states necessary for final approval.

The Uniform Law Commission, now in its 124th 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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