WSBA BOARD OF
Nov. 8, 2013, Seattle
by Michael Heatherly
Approving a set of legislative priorities for 2014 and vot- ing to sponsor two bills were among the items on the agenda of the WSBA Board of Governors at
their meeting in Seattle on Nov. 8, 2013.
The Board also took action relating to
a juvenile justice policy and approved
funding support for an update to the
2003 statewide civil legal needs study.
Legislative Committee Priorities
The Board approved a set of priorities
for its Legislative Committee for the
2013–14 fiscal year. The priorities were
the same as those approved a year ago,
which were reviewed by the committee
before being resubmitted to the Board.
The priorities are to:
1. Support legislative proposals initiated by WSBA sections that are approved by the Board of Governors.
2. Support continued progress on the
Justice in Jeopardy Initiative, which
includes efforts to improve support
and to provide sufficient funding for
civil legal aid, indigent criminal defense, and the judicial system.
3. Monitor proposals that would increase existing court user fees; oppose efforts to create new court user
4. Support efforts to promote and enhance civics education.
5. Monitor proposals that would impose a sales tax on professional
services; oppose efforts to impose a
sales tax on attorneys’ services.
6. Monitor legislation that would alter
7. Monitor other proposals of significance to the practice of law and administration of justice, and take appropriate positions on legislation.
The Board voted to sponsor two bills
expected to be introduced in the 2014
Legislative session. Both involve legal
procedure and appear noncontrover-
sial. The first would streamline exist-
ing conversion procedures for corpora-
tions and limited liability companies.
The new provisions would allow such
transactions to occur directly through a
single filing with the Secretary of State,
consistent with provisions adopted in
28 other states, including Delaware.
The second bill would create a
Washington version of the Internation-
al Commercial Arbitration Act, based
on the United Nations Commission on
International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
Model Law on International Commer-
cial Arbitration. The model law has
tion (JJRA) policy regarding reporting
of juveniles to U.S. Immigration Cus-
toms Enforcement (ICE).
Under JJRA’s Policy 38, which
is up for review, the agency notifies
ICE whenever a juvenile meeting the
definition of a foreign national comes
into JJRA custody. The policy further
requires that certain foreign national
youth committed to JJRA reside in an
institution and are not eligible for com-
munity placement or authorized leave
unless ICE communicates to JJRA that
it does not have an interest in the youth.
The Board’s vote does not commit
the Board or the WSBA to a position on
The Board watched a presentation on the Washington
Leadership Institute’s 2013 community service
project, a 50-page resource book for people residing in
Washington under asylum or on refugee status. The
book includes information on housing, employment,
public assistance, childcare and education . . . the
justice system, and emergencies and crimes.
been adopted in 66 nations and eight
U.S. states. British Columbia, Oregon,
and California are among the jurisdictions in which it is in effect. The Washington proposal was drafted by the
WSBA Alternative Dispute Resolution
Section. Proponents believe enactment
of the measure would help Washington
promote itself as a favorable venue for
arbitration of commercial disputes, a
growing field that economically benefits communities where it is practiced.
The statute would resemble Washington’s general arbitration statute, RCW
7.04A, with a key difference being that
the international arbitration process
gives the arbitrator, rather than the
courts, the authority to decide whether
arbitration is the proper resolution procedure for a given dispute.
Juvenile Rehabilitation Policy
The Board voted to authorize the WSBA
Juvenile Law Section to voice the Sec-
tion’s opposition to a state Juvenile
Justice and Rehabilitation Administra-
the issue, but it allows the Juvenile Law
Section to sign on to a letter opposing
renewal of the policy. Others signing
the letter include representatives of the
Washington Defender Association’s
Immigration Project, the Northwest
Immigrant Rights Project, OneAm-
erica, and the Office of Immigrant &
Refugee Affairs. They argue that the
policy results in prolonged detention
of juveniles in federal facilities and un-
necessary family separation.
Civil Legal Needs Study
The Board approved a request for
$15,000 in funding toward a 2014 update of the Washington State Civil Legal Needs Study, originally conducted
in 2003. The 2003 study evaluated the
prevalence and consequences of civil
legal problems experienced by low-income and vulnerable people throughout the state. It has been used since
then to help guide administration of
assistance programs by the WSBA and
other organizations. The 2014 project