CSG Committee on Suggested State Legislation

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Military personnel and overseas civilians face a variety of challenges to their participation as voters in U.S. elections, despite repeated congressional and state efforts to facilitate their ability to vote. These include difficulty in registering abroad, frequent address changes, slow mail delivery or ballots and ballot applications that never arrive, difficulty in obtaining information about candidates or issues, the inability to comply with notarization or verification procedures, or the voter’s failure to properly comply with non-essential requirements for absentee materials. The federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 (UOCAVA) and Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act of 2009 (MOVE), as well as the various state efforts, have not been wholly effective in overcoming difficulties that these voters face. The federal laws do not encompass state and local elections. Further, American elections are conducted at the state and local levels under procedures that vary dramatically by jurisdiction, and many are conducted independent of the federal elections to which UOCAVA and the MOVE Act do apply. This lack of uniformity, and lack of application of the federal statutes to state and local elections, complicates efforts to more fully enfranchise these voters. 
At its 2010 Annual Meeting, the national Uniform Law Commission promulgated the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act (UMOVA) to address these issues. UMOVA extends to state elections the assistance and protections for military and overseas voters currently found in federal law. It seeks greater harmony for the military and overseas voting process for all covered elections, over which the states will continue to have primary administrative responsibility.
This Act grants powers to a municipality to take action against an owner of real property that is in serious violation of code or an owner who fails to correct a condition which causes the property to be regarded as a public nuisance. For example, a municipality may initiate an in personam action against an owner for a continuing violation for which the owner takes no substantial step to correct within six months of receiving an order to correct a violation. The municipality may also recover an amount equal to any penalties imposed against the owner and any costs of remediation incurred by the municipality to fix the code violation. To recover the amount, a lien may be placed against the assets of the owner. 
A municipality may deny a permit to an applicant who owns real property in any municipality and has a tax, water, sewer, or refuse collection delinquency or for failing to abate a serious violation of state law or code, for which a district judge or municipal court has imposed fines or penalties. 
The Act enables counties to establish a housing court to hear and decide matters arising under the Act and other laws concerning real property. 
The legislation enables the administrative office of the courts to develop annual training programs for judges about state laws which address blighted and abandoned property. 
California Chapter 668 of 2010 defines a placement agent to mean a person, hired, engaged, or retained by, or serving for the benefit of or on behalf of, an external manager to act as a finder, solicitor, marketer, consultant, broker, or other intermediary in connection with the offer or sale of the securities, assets, or services of an external manager to a public retirement system in the state for compensation. It excludes from that definition an employee, officer, director, equityholder, partner, member, or trustee of an external manager who spends one third or more of their time during a calendar year managing the securities or assets owned, controlled, invested, or held by the external manager. It prohibits a person from acting as a placement agent in connection with any potential system investment made by a state public retirement system unless that person is registered as a lobbyist. 
The Act requires a person acting as a placement agent in connection with any potential system investment made by a local public retirement system to file any applicable reports with a local government agency that requires lobbyists to register and file reports and to comply with any applicable requirements imposed by a local government agency. It provides that an individual acting as a placement agent is a lobbyist and is thereby required to comply with all regulations and restrictions imposed on lobbyists by the Act. It expands the definition of administrative action to include, with regard only to placement agents, the decision by any state agency to enter into a contract to invest state public retirement system assets on behalf of a state public retirement system. 
This Act specifies that a placement agent who is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is permitted to receive a payment of fees for contractual services provided to an investment manager, except to the extent that payment of fees is prohibited by the proscription on contingency payments to placement agents. 
The law requires the state employees retirement system and state teachers’ retirement system to provide to the Legislature a report about the use of placement agents in connection with investments made by those retirement systems. 

This Act allows courts when issuing a civil protection order or emergency protection order to include restraining someone from taking or harming animals owned by the person seeking the order. 

This Act defines a religious organization and authorizes such organizations to host temporary encampments for homeless people on property owned or controlled by such organizations. It restricts counties, cities, and or towns from enacting ordinances or regulations that unreasonably interfere with the actions of a religious organization to shelter or house homeless people on property the organization owns or controls. 

This Act defines a college partnership laboratory school as a public, nonsectarian, nonreligious school established by a public institution of higher education that operates a teacher education program approved by the state board of education. The Act authorizes college partnership laboratory schools to stimulate the development of innovative programs for preschool through grade 12 students and provide opportunities for innovative instruction and assessment. 

This Act creates an evidentiary privilege against disclosing confidential communications between veterans or members of the military and veteran mentors. The privilege may be claimed by veterans or members of the military who make the communications, their representatives under certain circumstances, or by veteran mentors. 
The Act defines veteran mentor as an individual who is a veteran, is authorized by a circuit court judge to provide assistance and advice in a veterans mentoring program, has successfully completed judicially approved training, and has completed a background information form approved by a circuit court judge. Veterans mentoring programs are programs approved by a circuit court judge to provide assistance and advice about court related matters to veterans and current members of the Armed Forces. 

This Act authorizes creating special zones where schools are granted the flexibility to try innovative strategies to improve school performance. The Act establishes a process to create such zones. 

Given the dire situation of many government budgets, governments at all levels are looking for innovative alternatives to provide services, maintain existing infrastructure, and finance new public works. Puerto Rico’s Public-Partnerships Act of 2009 offers a recent framework to do that. This Act authorizes all departments, agencies, public corporations, and instrumentalities, and the legislative and judicial branches of the Government of Puerto Rico to establish Public-Private Partnerships. Such partnerships couple the resources and efforts of the public sector with resources of the private sector by means of a joint investment that results in the benefit of both parties. 
This Act generally defines Public-Private Partnerships as contracts between a government entity and one or more people to delegate operations, functions, services, or responsibilities of any government entity, or to design, develop, finance, maintain or operate one or more facilities, or any combination thereof. It spells out the criteria to set up Public-Private Partnerships and defines the terms of Public-Private Partnership contracts. For example, the Act sanctions the following contract arrangements: design / build, design / build / operate, design / build / finance / operate, design / build / transfer / operate, design / build / operate / transfer, turnkey contract, long-term lease contract, surface right contract, administrative grant contract, joint venture contract, long-term administration and operation contract, and any other kind of contract that separates or combines the design, building, financing, operation or maintenance phases of a project.

This Act requires language that automatically renews certain contracts to sell goods or services to consumers be clearly and conspicuously noted in the contract or contract offer. 


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