The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) plans to push for the passage of a handful of proposals this legislative session.
Jim Covington, director of legislative affairs for the ISBA, said the group’s agenda this year includes measures that range in topic from foreclosure sales and trusts to mental health and insurance.
Covington said last week that the statewide bar group also plans to throw its support behind legislation calling for same-sex marriage in Illinois.
A Senate committee earlier this week approved Senate Bill 110, which would recognize civil marriages between persons of the same sex. It now goes to the full Senate, where one leader said he would like to see a Valentine’s Day vote on the measure.
Gov. Pat Quinn expressed his support for gay marriage Wednesday during his annual State of the State address.
One of the proposals ISBA plans to push this session deals with arbitration awards entered on uninsured and underinsured motorist injury claims. It has not yet been put into bill form.
The bar group’s proposal, according to a memo provided by Covington, intends to “address the problems associated with non-binding arbitration, such as the non-finality of claims, duplicated trial costs, and supplicated trial time” by removing the statute’s trial de novo provision.
The memo notes that the Illinois Supreme Court has discussed the criticisms of non-bind arbitration in some of its decisions, including its 2011 ruling in Phoenix Insurance Co. v. Martha Rosen.
The high court in that case, according to the ISBA memo, pointed to other jurisdictions that have invalidated arbitration provisions, but “deferred to the General Assembly because Illinois is the only state with a statute authorizing non-bind arbitration.”
In addition, the ISBA plans to push a measure aimed at clearing up Section 9 of the Condominium Property Act.
The bar group contends that this section, as currently written, is not clear as to what circumstances and to what extent purchasers of a condo unit at a foreclosure sale are liable to an association for unpaid assessments.
Because it's not clear, the ISBA asserts that there is “uncertainty as to the amount of assessment arrearage a purchaser at a foreclosure sale (other than a mortgagee) or a purchaser from a mortgagee has to pay when the unit is purchased.”
“Associations have used the statutory ambiguities to their advantage by refusing to issue a paid assessment letter unless money is collected at the closing,” the ISBA memo states. “This statute was designed to be a shield for associations during a lengthy foreclosure process, not a sword.”
The bar group also has a proposal on its legislative agenda that deals with the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code.
While this code provides respondents in commitment hearings the right to an independent medical examination, the ISBA notes that the code refers courts to a Supreme Court rule that doesn’t exist.
As such, courts are left “without any guidance for providing how this is supposed to happen or who pays for it,” the bar group's memo asserts.
The bar group’s proposal, which is included in House Bill 1007, aims to fill this void by setting out the specific procedures, such as requiring the county of the respondent’s residence to pay for the evaluation.
Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, is sponsoring the bill.
Covington said another measure on the ISBA’s legislative agenda this year intends to clear up the Illinois Residential Real Property Transfer on Death Instrument Act (TODI).
The bar group previously pushed for the passage of this act, which took effect Jan. 1, 2012. It basically lets homeowners transfer their residential property on their death to their heirs without having to go to probate court.
This proposal is included in House Bill 169, which is being sponsored by Sen. John Bradley, D-Marion, and cleans up a handful of issues raised by the title industry over definitions and problems that may arise when there is more than one beneficiary.
Covington said the ISBA also supports House Bill 199, which would amend the state's Trusts and Trustees Act. Rep. Emily McAsey, D-Romeoville, is sponsoring the measure.
Legislation can be found at ilga.gov.