WLALA's Delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations
By Shaun Dabby Jacobs
Have you ever thought, "this law should be changed,” or "it should not exist at all?” Have you ever thought "there ought to be a law about this” but when you researched the appropriate legal authorities, you found no law existed that addressed the topic you researched? Do you enjoy debating policy and the law as well as meeting interesting people from across the state? WLALA’s delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations provided an opportunity to participate in all of these activities and more at the state-wide Conference of California Bar Associations ("CCBA” or "Conference”) in September and we all had a lot of fun in the process.
The CCBA is a group of attorneys from local, specialty, and minority bar associations across the state, that are focused on improving California’s laws. This year, CCBA met during the same weekend the State Bar Convention was held in San Jose. During the Conference, the various bar associations debated revisions and amendments to California law called "resolutions" and the Conference then votes on the resolutions. WLALA delegates Shaun Dabby Jacobs and Mary McKelvey join the debate where there are issues of concern to WLALA and vote WLALA’s position on the proffered resolutions. WLALA's resolution from a previous year amending the California Rules of Court to require the electronic exchange of a separate statement in support of a motion to compel was passed by the Conference.
CCBA’s lobbyist, Larry Doyle, takes the resolution to the State Legislature or California Judicial Council to find a sponsor and hopefully get the resolution passed into law. Doyle's success rate has been impressive with many resolutions enacted into law. For example, this past year, CCBA sponsored or supported 21 bills containing 28 resolutions and, of those, 13 bills containing 17 resolutions were signed into law. Only one bill (one resolution) was vetoed by the Governor. CCBA sponsors more legislation than any other organization and this was CCBA’s most successful legislative year to date.
Topics addressed at the conference encompass a wide range of law, including mediation confidentiality, civil procedure related to appeals, increases in punishment for solicitation of minors for prostitution, extension of domestic violence protective orders to include children present during the event, and the promotion of drought resistant lawns. The process is exciting and interesting. Resolutions considered at the September 12-14, 2014 Conference are posted at the Conference website, www.calconference.org, along with resolutions from prior years. Next year’s Conference will take place from October 9, 2015 to October 11, 2015 in Anaheim.
It bears noting that resolutions supported by WLALA which passed through the Conference in previous years became enacted into law in October 2013. One such resolution amended the domestic violence statute, Penal Code section 273.5 to expand the class of victims protected by the statute. This resolution became enacted into law through Assembly Bill No. 16. During the Conference, we received a framed copy of the bill signed by the bill’s sponsor, Assembly Speaker John Perez.
It is not too early to start thinking about resolutions to submit for next year’s Conference. Although the final deadline to submit resolutions is on March 6, 2015, if you want WLALA to sponsor a resolution, Mary and Shaun need it by the end of November to give WLALA sufficient time to complete its vetting process. We encourage anyone who has ever had an idea for how the law may be improved or updated, or people simply curious about the process to talk to WLALA Board Members Shaun Dabby Jacobs (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mary McKelvey (email@example.com), who serve as WLALA’s delegation chairs. We invite you to consider getting more involved by joining the WLALA delegation and are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this process.
Shaun Dabby Jacobs is a Deputy City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and co-chair of the Conference of California Bar Associations Committee.
Shaun Dabby Jacobs accepts signed copy of Assembly Bill 16 on behalf of WLALA.