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Daily News Summary

An electronic digest of media coverage of interest to members of The Florida Bar compiled each workday by the Public Information and Bar Services Department. Electronic links are only active in today's edition. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

March 23, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH ATTORNEY ELECTED FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT FOR 2018

Palm Beach Post | Article | March 22, 2017

West Palm Beach attorney Michelle Suskauer has been chosen to lead the Florida Bar starting in 2018. Suskauer, 50, is a criminal defense attorney. She will be sworn in as president-elect at the Bar's annual convention in Boca Raton on June 23. Suskauer is president of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County and past-president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the Palm Beach County Chapter of FAWL.

JUDICIAL BRANCH CONTINUES TO PURSUE ITS FUNDING PRIORITIES

The Florida Bar News | Article | April 1, 2017

While the Florida court system has a top priority of getting $22 million for technology improvements, it has several other goals for the 2017-18 state budget now being hammered out in the Legislature. Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and State Courts Administrator PK Jameson have appeared before legislative panels to make pitches for funding to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the court system, including upgrading its technological capabilities. "The judicial branch is committed to fulfilling its mission, which is to protect rights and liberties, uphold and interpret the law, and provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes," Labarga told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.

CONSTITUTION COMMISSION ANNOUNCES HEARINGS IN ORLANDO, MIAMI, BOCA RATON AND PENSACOLA

Miami Herald | Article | March 22, 2017

Constitution Commission Chairman Carlos Beruff announced the first four scheduled stops on the statewide "Floridians Speak, We Listen" tour being hosted by the 2017-2018 Florida Constitution Revision Commission. The commission will be at the University of Central Florida on March 29 from 5-8 p.m.; Florida International University on April 6 from 5-8 p.m.; Florida Atlantic University on April 7 from 9 a.m.-noon; and the University of West Florida on April 12 from 4-7 p.m. (CDT).

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES TO FINALLY GET A STATEWIDE CASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

Florida Politics | Article | March 22, 2017

At a presentation about circuit court judicial caseloads Tuesday [March 21], Robert E. Roundtree, Jr., an Eighth Judicial Circuit Court judge and former chief judge, told Florida's House Appropriations Committee that local circuits have the capability to allow the local clerk to go paperless, because they have a case management system that allows them to view those files electronically. But there are other circuits that don't have that technology. The trial courts have asked the Legislature over the past three years for funding to equalize the system so everyone in the state can go paperless, Roundtree said.

SENATE BILL TO INCREASE SUPREME COURT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS CLEARS SECOND COMMITTEE

Florida Politics | Article | March 22, 2017

A bill that would increase reporting requirements for Florida Supreme Court cases cleared the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee with a unanimous vote Wednesday [March 22]. SB 878, sponsored by Republican Sen. Tom Lee, would require the court to report a case if it does not issue a ruling within 180 days of oral arguments. Court rules put the 180-day benchmark on issuing a ruling, though there are instances when the Supreme Court is not able to meet the deadline. The House version of the bill, HB 301, cleared all of its committee stops before the start of the session and was approved by the full chamber with a 78-37 vote March 10.

REDISTRICTING WARS CONTINUE: SENATE PASSES BILL TARGETING COURT IN FUTURE FIGHTS

Tampa Bay Times | Article | March 21, 2017

After four years of bitter legal battles over redistricting, the Florida Senate on Tuesday [March 21] passed a bill that makes new demands on the court in future map debates and sets new standards about which maps take effect and when. The bill, SB 352 by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, passed the Senate 24-14, on a party line vote. It locks maps in place on qualifying day and requires that, if a map is challenged 71 days before the primary election, the existing map in force will be the one that applies for the election. If the court orders revised boundaries after that, the new boundaries will take effect in the next election cycle.

FLORIDA HOUSE BILL WOULD LET GOVERNOR PICK ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGES

Palm Beach Post | Article | March 22, 2017

At the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, where nearly three dozen judges weigh in on state agency actions, administrative law judges in recent months have sided against gambling regulators, health officials and other state agencies for exceeding their authority or failing to do their jobs correctly. Now, lawmakers are considering giving the governor the authority to appoint the judges, who would also be limited to serving a maximum of eight years. The judges currently are hired by the division's chief judge and treated as career-service employees. The proposed overhaul would essentially give the governor control over the judges who decide whether the governor's agencies are acting properly.

GORSUCH CONFIRMATION HEARINGS, DAY 4: ABA TESTIMONY EXPECTED

ABA Journal | Article | March 23, 2017

Representatives from the ABA Standing Committee on the Judiciary are scheduled to testify Thursday [March 23] about the committee's well-qualified rating of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. The ABA testimony will be followed by testimony by two former chief judges of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the court on which Gorsuch sits. Representatives of several groups are also slated to testify.

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