Uniform Law Commission
111 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 1010, Chicago IL 60602
Contact: Kate Robinson, ULC Communications Officer, email@example.com
Michael Kerr, ULC Legislative Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Immediate Release:
NATIONAL LAW GROUP WRAPS UP 120th ANNUAL MEETING
New Act on Authentication of Official State Online Legal Material Completed
July 13, 2011 —At its recently-concluded 120th Annual Meeting in Vail, Colorado, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) approved four new acts dealing with issues ranging from a new law that will authenticate official state online legal material to a new act establishing a certificate of title system for boats.
The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act establishes an outcomes-based, technology-neutral framework for providing online legal material with the same level of trustworthiness traditionally provided by publication in a law book. Increasingly, state governments are publishing laws, statutes, agency rules, and court rules and decisions online. In some states, important state-level legal material is no longer published in books, but is only available online.
The Act requires that official electronic legal material be:
- Authenticated, by providing a method to determine that it is unaltered;
- Preserved, either in electronic or print form; and
- Accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis.
If a state preserves legal material electronically, it must provide for back-up and recovery, and ensure the integrity and continuing usability of the material.
The major objectives of the Uniform Certificate of Title Act for Vessels are to: (1) qualify as a state titling law that the Coast Guard will approve; (2) facilitate transfers of ownership of a vessel; (3) deter and impede the theft of vessels by making information about the ownership of vessels available to both government officials and those interested in acquiring an interest in a vessel; (4) accommodate existing financing arrangements for vessels; and (5) provide certain consumer protections when purchasing a vessel through the Act’s branding initiative.
The Act’s branding rules may be its greatest innovation. No state currently brands the title of vessels through its statutory language, with the result that vessels with hidden hull damage can be resold after cosmetic repairs without disclosure of the damage. By establishing a model vessel brand “hull-damaged,” this Act provides a mechanism for consumers, insurers, and lenders to receive valuable information, which in turn can prompt further investigation, help ensure that necessary repairs are made, and aid in boating safety. The Act encourages compliance with its branding rules by imposing an administrative penalty on owners and insurers who fail to comply.
The Model Protection of Charitable Assets Act will articulate and confirm the role of the state Attorney General in protecting charitable assets. The Attorney General’s authority is broad and this Act will not limit or narrow that authority. The Act provides the Attorney General (the term is used in the act to mean the charity regulator in the state) with an inventory of basic information without overburdening the charities or the Attorney General with excessive reporting requirements. The Act specifies which transactions and legal proceedings require notice to the Attorney General and provides for registration and annual reports for some charities.
The primary purposes of the Harmonized Uniform Business Organizations Code (also known as the Harmonization of Business Entity Acts) are to (1) harmonize the language of all of the uniform unincorporated entity acts (Uniform Partnership Act, Uniform Limited Partnership Act, Uniform Limited Liability Company Act, Model Entity Transactions Act, Model Registered Agents Act, Uniform Limited Cooperative Association Act, Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act, and Uniform Statutory Trust Entity Act), and (2) to revise the language of each of those acts in a manner that permits their integration into a single code of entity laws.
In addition to these four acts, Amendments to the Uniform Debt Management Services Act were also approved. In October 2010, the Federal Trade Commission amended its Telemarketing Sales Rule to cover the business of debt-management services. Several of the provisions of the amended Rule are inconsistent with provisions in the Uniform Debt Management Services Act. To avoid any inconsistency between this Act and the newly revised federal law, amendments were drafted to address the timing of fee collection and the use of powers of attorney. Several other changes have been made throughout the Act, to clarify the disclosure and reporting requirements and to address circumstances that have changed since 2005.
The Act has also been revised to adopt the position that the debt-management services business should be open to both for-profit and not-for-profit entities. Removal of the option to restrict the business to not-for-profit entities has the incidental benefit of simplifying the Act.
The current drafts of all of these acts can be found at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.
The Uniform Law Commission, now in its 120th year, comprises more than 350 practicing lawyers, governmental lawyers, judges, law professors, and lawyer-legislators from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Uniform law commissioners are appointed by their states to draft and promote enactment of uniform laws that are designed to solve problems common to all the states.
After receiving the ULC’s seal of approval, a uniform act is officially promulgated for consideration by the states, and legislatures are urged to adopt it. Since its inception in 1892, the ULC has been responsible for more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Partnership Act, and the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.