2017 Civil Right to Counsel Bills

 

Listed below are all of the 2017 bills that address the right to counsel in civil cases.  The NCCRC monitors all such bills and regularly reports on their progress, and we also are involved with some of them.


 

 

Enacted bills

 

State Bill # Sponsor

Description

Status

AR SB 132 Sen. Hutchinson

Specifies that court must appoint counsel for parents immediately following the ex parte emergency dependency proceeding.

 

Signed by Governor on 4/4/17.
CT SB 1502

Numerous senators and representatives

 

Establishes a pilot project for representation in domestic violence cases.

 

 

Signed by Governor on 10/31/17.

 

D.C. B22-0024 (coverage at Washington Post and WAMU) Councilmember McDuffie and others Expands representation in certain kinds of housing cases.  Read more.

Incorporated into the enacted FYI 2018 Budget Support Act of 2017.  $4.5 million appropriated to fund bill.

 


 
HI HB 1235 Rep. Nishimonto   

Permits arbiter in family law disputes to appoint counsel for the child at the expense of the parties.


Signed by Governor on 7/11/17. 
IA HB 133 Judiciary Committee 

Requires that GALs for children in dissolution and custody actions be attorneys, and specifies that court can appoint an attorney separate from GAL (at which point same person cannot fill both roles).


Signed by Governor on 4/12/17.
KS HB 2128 House of Delegates Judiciary Committee

Requires counsel to appoint counsel for indigent person in sex offender committment review hearings.


Approved by Governor on 6/5/17.
LA HB 249 Numerous cosponsors

Provides defendant with right to counsel at hearing regarding failure to comply with a criminal fine payment plan.

 
Signed by Governor on 6/15/17.
MN HB 1702 Reps. Kresha, Thissen, Omar, Lohmer, Ward, and O'Neill 

Clarifies that children 10 and over have a right to counsel in child welfare cases and requires notification of such right, plus strengthens waiver provisions.


Signed by Governor on 5/17/17. 
MT HB 59 Rep. Dukik at request of Task Force on State Public Defender Operations

Requires putative father to be successfully served and to request counsel before counsel is appointed in child welfare proceedings. 

 

Signed by Governor on 3/1/17.
MT HB 201 Rep. Cook

Specifies that where court-appointed special advocate not available to serve as guardian ad litem, court can appoint attorney to be GAL.


Signed by Governor on 3/29/17. 
NH SB 200 Numerous senators and reps

Requires appointment of counsel prior to incarcerating a person for failure to pay fines/fees or perform community service.

 
Signed by Governor on 6/2/17.
NV SB 305 Numerous cosponsors 

Requires counsel to be appointed for children in dependency and termination of parental rights cases, rather than being discretionary. 

 

Signed by Governor on 5/31/17. 
NV AB 319 Rep. Sprinkle and Sen. Harris Creates separate process for guardianship of minors, and specifies that court may appoint an attorney for the minor.

Signed by Governor on 5/26/17.
NV SB 433 Sen. Harris   

Requires court to appoint counsel for adult ward in guardianship proceeding without request.


Approved by Governor on 6/5/17.
NY SB 4407  Sen. Lanza

Increases age of consent to marry to 17, and requires court to appoint counsel if applicant for marriage is 17 years old.


Signed by Governor on 6/20/17.
NYC Intro 214-B Councilmembers Levine/Gibson + veto-proof majority

Create a right to counsel in eviction cases for those at 200% or below of poverty level.


 Passed the City Council on 7/20/17.
SC SB 415 Sens. Malloy and Campsen

Requires appointment of both counsel and GAL for adult guardianship proceedings (current law only requires appointment of counsel that serves GAL role).


Signed by Governor on 5/9/17.
UT SB 71  Sen. Thatcher and Rep. Roberts

Requires counsel to be appointed for collection and enforcement of criminal debt (which is treated as contempt matter) if the court is considering incarceration.


Signed by Governor on 3/23/17.

 

Dead bills

 

State Bill # Sponsor(s)

Description

Status

AL

SB 390  Sen. Reed  

Creates process for involuntary treatment of person for substance abuse, and requires appointment of counsel for indigent persons or those who "do not have the mental ability to secure the services of an attorney."

 

 

Died in Judiciary committee.

AR

SB 18 Sen. Clark Would remove the indigency requirement for a parent to have a right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases.

Died in Judiciary committee.

 

AR

SB 736 Sen. Clark Would remove the indigency requirement for a parent to have a right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases, and extend right to appointed counsel to putative parents. 

Died in Judiciary committee after being amended and re-referred.

 

AZ

HB 2098 Rep. Thorpe Requires the public defender to be appointed in civil forfeiture proceedings.

Introduced and referred to JPS, FPRPP, and Rules Committees on 1/17/17.  FPRPP Committee approved on 1/24/17, but died in JPS/Rules Committees.

 

IN

SB 8 Sens. Boots, Young, Kruse, and Randolph Would require a criminal conviction prior to forfeiture, and where defendant is represented by Public Defender in criminal proceeding, would authorize PD's office to represent the individual in the forfeiture proceeding.

Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law recommended passage of substitute, which passed Senate, but died in House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code.

 

IN

SB 113  Sen. Kruse Would abolish civil forfeiture and provide a right to counsel for criminal forfeiture proceedings.

Died in Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law.


MD

HB 428 Numerous delegates  

Establishes procedure for termination of parental rights where child is product of nonconsensual sexual conduct, and requires appointment of counsel for termination hearing.

 

Reported favorably with amendments by Judiciary Committee, and passed House.   Passed Senate with amendment, but House declined to accept amendments and Senate refused to recede, so conference committee appointed and then sine die.

 

MD

HB 1165 Numerous delegates

Establishes procedures to set up visitation by family of person subject to guardianship, and permits court to appoint counsel for ward in visitee proceeding.

 

Health and Government Operations Committee recommended passage with amendments, and passed House, but died in Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee after a hearing.

 

MO

HB 768 Rep. Lant

Would require court to appoint counsel for child in dependency proceedings without a request in certain situations.


Passed the Judiciary and Rules - Legislative Oversight committees, but didn't make it any further.

 

MS

HB 672 / HB 1033 / SB 2527 Rep. Wooten / Reps. Gipson and BomgarSen. Horhn

Would require counsel to be appointed prior to incarceration for failure to pay fees/fines.


HB 672 died in Judiciary A Committee.

 

HB 1033 referred to Judiciary B Committee, which removed right to counsel language.  Substitute eventually passed House and senate but was vetoed by Governor.  


SB 2527 died in Judiciary A Committee.

 

NE LB 526 Sen. Morfeld Would have, among other things, required appointment of counsel for contempt proceedings related to debt collection. 

Died in the Judiciary Committee after a hearing (it was indefinitely postponed on 5/23/17).  Portions of the bill (but not the right to counsel) went into LB 259, which did pass. 

 

NJ AB 4015 Reps. Dancer and Huttle

Would require appointment of counsel for minors subjected to civil commitment (current law only requires counsel if appointed GAL is not an attorney).


Died in Assembly Human Services Committee.
NJ AB 4628 / SB 3229 Rep. Jones / Sen. Weinberg

Would provide a right to counsel for parents in private adoption cases, codifying a NJ Supreme Court ruling.


AB 4628 reported by Women and Children Committee, then died in Assembly Appropriations Committee.


SB 3229 died in Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

 

NJ SB 89 Sen. Whelan

Specifies that child's appointed counsel continues past termination of parental rights until permanent placement has been finalized.

Died in Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.


NJ AB 1099 / AB 3981 / SB 2455 Numerous assembly sponsors / Sens. Codey and Addiego

Requires counsel to be appointed for new process for involuntary substance abuse admissions.

AB 1099 and AB 3981 died in Assemby Human Services Committee.

 

SB 2455 died in Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.


NJ AB 5164 Rep. Huttle

Would create new process for involuntary medical treatment and require appointment of counsel for indigent persons in such a process.


Died in Assembly Judiciary Committee.

NV

SB 382 Numerous cosponsors  

Changes parental notification law for minor to have abortion so that initial request to waive parental notification is made to child welfare services agency instead of court, and if denied, minor has right to counsel in judicial review.


 

Died in Committee on Health and Human Services.

NV

SB 483 Senate Health and Human Services Committee

Authorizes court to appoint counsel for parents in paternity proceedings connected to abuse/neglect proceeding.

 
 

Health and Human Services Committee recommended passage with amendment, and passed Senate.  Assembly Health and Human Services Committee recommended passage, but placed on Chief Clerk's desk.

 

OR

HB 2021 Rep. Barker, Sen. Courtney  

Establishes procedure to detain person as sexually violent offender after completion of prison sentence, and requires counsel for proceedings.

 

Died in Judiciary Committee. 
OR SB 501 Senate Committee on Judiciary

Requires court to appoint counsel for adult protective proceedings (including guardianships) upon request, provided that court holds hearing (which is required if objection is lodged to proceeding).

 

Referred to Judiciary and Ways and Means Committee on 1/17/17.  Had public hearing in Judiciary, but died in committees.

 

OR SB 502 Senate Committee on Judiciary

Requires court to hold hearing for any petition for appointment of fiduciary or guardian filed by a county public guardian, and requires counsel to be appointed for such hearings.


Received favorable report from Judiciary Committee, but died in Ways and Means Committee.


RI HB 5503 Reps. Jacquard, Vella-Wilkinson, Morin, Null, and Nunes Would replace current sex offender registration and notification requirements (which include right to appointed counsel to challenge registration/notification) with federal SORNA (which does not).

 

House Finance Committee recommended holding for further study. 


RI

HB 5807 / SB 669 Reps. Ruggiero, McNamara, Blazejewski, Vassell, and Jacquard / Sens. DiPalma, Miller, McCaffrey, Conley, and Satchell  

Would provide for voluntary extension of services for children in foster care from ages 18-21, and require appointed counsel for child in proceedings to set up such care.


House Finance Committee recommended holding HB 5807.

 

Senate Judiciary Committee recommended passage of SB 669, and it passed Senate, but died in House Finance Committee.

 

RI

HB 6257 Reps. Keable, Fellela, Amore, Craven, and O'Grady  

Creates process for involuntary commitment for substance abuse, and requires appointment of counsel prior to confinement.

 

 

Judiciary Committee recommended holding for further study.

 

TX

HB 205  Rep. Keough  

Requires counsel to be appointed when suit brought against parent for required participation in court-ordered services.


Substitute bill favorably reported by Human Services Committee, but didn't make it any further.

TX

HB 596  Rep. Johnson  

Requires counsel or GAL appointed for child in conservatorships to continue as long as child remains in conservatorship.

 

Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee had public hearing and considered substitute, but left it pending in committee.

 

TX

HB 3109 Rep. Giddings  

Requires attorney ad litem appointed for child in conservatorships to continue appointment as long as child remains in conservatorship, subject to certain exceptions.


 

Human Services Committee reported favorably as substituted after public hearing, but didn't make it any further.  Competing bill (HB 7) passed by legislature was amended to keep discretionary language the same.

 

TX

HB 3542 Rep. Cain

Requires AG to appoint attorney ad litem for unborn child where there is issue of withholding of life-sustaining medical treatment from pregnant patient.

 

Died in State Affairs Committee.

 
TX SB 1912 Sen. Zaffirini   

Would permit court, "with the permission of the commissioners court of the county in which the court is located", to establish mental health public defender office.  Also would require court to appoint attorney from mental health PD office, regular PD office, or a private attorney in all proceedings for court-ordered mental health services.


Passed the House and Senate but vetoed by the Governor