Arizona Voluntary Bar Bill Legislation

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7e/Arizona-StateSeal.svg/477px-Arizona-StateSeal.svg.pngTwo House Bills dealing with attorney regulation in Arizona have been introduced by Arizona House Member Rep. Anthony Kern and co-sponsors.

The first is House Bill 2219, which is identical to last session’s HB 2629. It states that the supreme court shall license and regulate attorneys for the practice of law in Arizona. And it further states that an attorney shall not be required to be a member of any organization to become or remain a licensed attorney in Arizona. Read the complete text of HB 2219 below.

State of Arizona House of Representatives Fifty-second Legislature Second Regular Session 2016

HB 2219

Introduced by Representatives Kern: Finchem, Leach, Mitchell, Olson, Petersen, Thorpe, Weninger

AN ACT AMENDING TITLE 12, CHAPTER 1, ARTICLE 1, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES, BY ADDING SECTION 12-119.06; RELATING TO THE SUPREME COURT.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 12, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 12-119.06, to read:

12-119.06. Attorney licenses; rules

A. THE SUPREME COURT SHALL LICENSE ATTORNEYS FOR THE PRACTICE OF LAW IN THIS STATE. THE SUPREME COURT SHALL ADOPT RULES TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION INCLUDING:

1. MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR LICENSURE.

2. TESTING REQUIREMENTS.

3. REQUIRING A BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION BEFORE OBTAINING A LICENSE.

4. DISCIPLINING ATTORNEYS.

5. DISBARRING ATTORNEYS.

B. AN ATTORNEY SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO BE A MEMBER OF ANY ORGANIZATION TO BECOME OR REMAIN A LICENSED ATTORNEY IN THIS STATE.

The second is House Bill 2221, which was a collaborative effort undertaken to uphold lawyer First Amendment Freedoms; improve public transparency; assure no government growth at taxpayer expense; fight further bar bureaucratic bloat; affirm Arizona Supreme Court state constitutional authority over lawyer regulation; transfer all lawyer regulation authority from the bar to the Court to better protect the public. And while HB 2221 preserves the State Bar of Arizona — it does so as a professional association empowered only to collect voluntary non-regulatory dues from lawyers.

Consequently, based on the experience in 18 voluntary bar states, lawyer fees should go down since Arizona attorneys will only be required to pay for lawyer regulation not for the bar’s non-regulation programs and services. If the 18 voluntary states are any guide, in those jurisdictions the average cost of lawyer regulation fees paid to the respective state supreme courts is $210. Moreover, during the 2013-14 Arizona Bar dues increase debate, the state bar’s own website divulged that the annual mandatory fee dues portion representing the cost of lawyer regulation was $350. Dues are currently $490 with an eventual increase to $520.

Read the complete text of HB 2221 below but to sum up key provisions:

1. It reaffirms lawyer regulation under the state supreme court;

2. It places all lawyer regulation assessments under supreme court control;

3. It limits bureaucratic expansion since the state bar is authorized to only collect voluntary membership dues for non-regulatory programs and services and requires the bar to file annual independently audited public accountings;

4. It subjects the bar to open records and public meeting laws if the supreme court delegates any of its regulatory authority to it.

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State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Fifty-second Legislature
Second Regular Session 2016
HB 2221
Introduced by Representatives Kern: Finchem, Lawrence, Mitchell, Thorpe

AN ACT AMENDING TITLE 12, CHAPTER 1, ARTICLE 1, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES, BY ADDING SECTION 12-119.06; RELATING TO THE SUPREME COURT.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 12, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 12-119.06, to read:
12-119.06. Regulation of attorneys; mandatory assessments; voluntary membership dues; uses; public records
A. TO THE EXTENT PROVIDED BY THE ARIZONA CONSTITUTION, ALL REGULATORY
FUNCTIONS RELATING TO THE PRACTICE OF LAW, INCLUDING THE REGULATION OF ATTORNEYS IN THIS STATE, ARE WITHIN THE AUTHORITY OF THE SUPREME COURT.

B. AS A CONDITION OF PRACTICING LAW IN THIS STATE, THE SUPREME COURT
MAY COLLECT A MANDATORY ASSESSMENT FROM EACH ATTORNEY TO SUPPORT THE COURT’S REGULATORY FUNCTIONS. THE SUPREME COURT MAY USE MANDATORY ASSESSMENT MONIES ONLY FOR THE FOLLOWING REGULATORY FUNCTIONS FOR ATTORNEYS WHO ARE UNDER THE ACTIVE SUPERVISION OF THE SUPREME COURT:

1. ADMITTING AN ATTORNEY TO THE PRACTICE OF LAW.
2. MAINTAINING ATTORNEY RECORDS.
3. ENFORCING THE ETHICAL RULES THAT GOVERN ATTORNEYS.
4. REGULATING ANY CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION MANDATES FOR ATTORNEYS.
5. MAINTAINING ATTORNEY TRUST ACCOUNT RECORDS.
6. PREVENTING THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.

C. THE STATE BAR OF ARIZONA MAY ESTABLISH, COLLECT AND USE VOLUNTARY MEMBERSHIP DUES FROM AN ATTORNEY FOR ANY LAWFUL ACTIVITY THAT IS NOT  INCLUDED IN SUBSECTION B OF THIS SECTION.

D. THE COLLECTION OF MANDATORY ASSESSMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE FROM THE COLLECTION OF ANY VOLUNTARY MEMBERSHIP DUES. THE SUPREME COURT SHALL INCORPORATE ANY MANDATORY ASSESSMENT MONIES COLLECTED INTO ITS BUDGET. ANY OTHER ENTITY IN THIS STATE MAY NOT COLLECT MANDATORY ASSESSMENT FROM AN ATTORNEY.

E. IF THE STATE BAR OF ARIZONA ACCEPTS ANY MANDATORY ASSESSMENT MONIES COLLECTED BY THE SUPREME COURT TO CARRY OUT A REGULATORY FUNCTION LISTED IN SUBSECTION B OF THIS SECTION, THE STATE BAR OF ARIZONA SHALL:

1. DISCLOSE AND MAKE AVAILABLE RECORDS AND OTHER MATTERS IN THE SAME
MANNER AS IS REQUIRED OF A PUBLIC BODY PURSUANT TO TITLE 39, CHAPTER 1.

2. ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31 OF EACH YEAR THAT MANDATORY ASSESSMENT MONIES ARE ACCEPTED, MAKE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC A LIST OF ALL OF THE EXPENDITURES THAT WERE MADE WITH THE MANDATORY ASSESSMENT MONIES AND PROVIDE AN INDEPENDENT AUDIT OF THE EXPENDITURES TO ENSURE THAT ALL EXPENDITURES WERE IN FURTHERANCE OF THE REGULATORY FUNCTIONS LISTED IN SUBSECTION B OF THIS SECTION.

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