Legislative Committee Procedures
1. Policy Statement
The Chicago Bar Association shall consider proposing, or taking a position on, legislation in Illinois which affects the administration of justice, has an impact on the practice of law, or involves an important matter of public concern as to which lawyers have special knowledge, expertise or interest.
Where important matters of public concern are at issue that do not involve constitutional questions, the committee that proposes CBA action shall establish the special knowledge, expertise or interest of lawyers necessary to justify a CBA position. These policies govern both sponsored and non-sponsored legislation.
The legislative committee shall establish prior to each legislative session a legislative calendar which shall correspond to the legislative deadlines of the General Assembly. This calendar, which shall be communicated to the substantive law committees, shall set forth deadlines for the formulation of legislative proposals by substantive law committees, legislative committee review and recommendation, technical review and Board of Managers review and recommendation. The calendar should also contain deadlines for the consideration of legislation not sponsored by the C.B.A. The legislative committee or the Board of Managers may waive adherence to the C.B.A.'s legislative deadlines for the consideration and review of urgent matters.
3. Sponsored Legislation
The substantive law committees of the C.B.A. shall take an active role in the preparation of C.B.A. sponsored legislation. A substantive law committee should consider the views of proponents and opponents of all proposed legislation, including the views of other interested C.B.A. committees, non-lawyers and representatives from interested civic organizations. The substantive law committee initiating a legislative proposal should prepare a report to the Legislative Committee describing with specificity all contemplated opposition to a bill and such other matters as may be requested by the Board of Managers, the legislative committee or legislative counsel. As appropriate, this information should be forwarded by the legislative committee to legislative counsel in Springfield.
4. Nonsponsored Legislation
The substantive law committee should take an active role in the evaluation of non-C.B.A. sponsored legislation. During those months in which the General Assembly is in session, each substantive law committee, or a subcommittee thereof, shall be expected to promptly evaluate and make recommendations with respect to proposed legislation of interest to that committee.
5. Legislative Program
The C.B.A. should develop a legislative program consisting of:
(a) Level I -- a limited number, as determined by the legislative committee, of legislative concepts, which the C.B.A. shall direct legislative counsel to support or oppose actively and to which the C.B.A. shall commit other available resources, as necessary, including full reimbursement of witnesses properly authorized pursuant to paragraph 6 to testify before the General Assembly. The Board of Managers, in consultation with the legislative executive committee, may add or withdraw legislative concepts in response to exigent circumstances.
(b) Level II -- important legislative concepts for which the C.B.A. shall authorize members to testify before the General Assembly on behalf of the C.B.A. The C.B.A. shall reimburse such witnesses for expenses incurred in so testifying. Legislative counsel shall not be responsible for the passage or defeat of such legislation, but may assist the legislative committee in coordinating action taken in regards to such legislation.
(c) Level III -- other legislation which a substantive law committee has proposed or which a committee has reviewed and endorsed or opposed. Pursuant to the authority granted in paragraph 6, members shall be permitted to testify before the General Assembly on behalf of the C.B.A. regarding such legislation, although due to limited C.B.A. resources, witnesses shall not be reimbursed for expenses incurred in so testifying. In addition, substantive law committees may prepare a letter to appropriate members of the General Assembly setting forth the substantive law committee's position with respect to the legislation. This letter shall be sent only upon the review of the legislative committee and only with the approval of the Board of Managers and signature of the President.
The legislative committee shall provide the Board of Managers with a report describing all bills which have been considered by the legislative committee, indicating in such report the legislative committee's recommendation for inclusion in, or exclusion from, the C.B.A.'s legislative program. The report shall also include the legislative committee's recommendation as to the level of support to be given each proposal and as to the priorities for proposals within each level of the legislative program. The legislative committee shall continue to monitor all legislation and shall periodically report to the Board of Managers the status of all legislation proposed or reviewed by the C.B.A.
6. Witnesses and Other Efforts
Prior to offering testimony or conducting other efforts advancing the CBA's position, a substantive law committee or witness shall file a report with the legislative committee. This report shall describe the positions to be advanced, the testimony or other action expected, and the General Assembly committees before which the witness shall appear or individuals to be contacted. This report, along with the legislative committee's recommendation, shall be forwarded to the Board of Managers prior to such testimony or other action. The legislative committee shall coordinate and notify legislative counsel of all such appearances or other action.
7. Legislative Counsel
The C.B.A. should continue to employ a legislative counsel, that is, a person who advocates the views of the C.B.A. before the General Assembly. In the event that a situation arises requiring immediate action, and after attempting to contact the President or such other persons as designated by the Board of Managers, the legislative counsel can act without the review or approval of the Board of Managers consistent with previously approved policy regarding a specific piece of legislation. All such action by legislative counsel shall be immediately reported to the legislative committee.
8. Springfield Office
The C.B.A. should consider maintaining a legislative office in Springfield.
9. Coordination with Other Bar Associations
The C.B.A. should coordinate its activities, including joint sponsorship of legislative proposals, with other bar associations. Representatives of the legislative committee of the C.B.A. shall be encouraged to work with members of legislative committees of other bar associations in putting together the C.B.A.'s legislative program.
10. Other Legislation
The Legislative Committee shall be actively involved only with legislation before the Illinois General Assembly. The Board of Managers should designate ad hoc committees to study and recommend the C.B.A.'s position on matters regarding Supreme Court Rules, federal legislation and municipal ordinances. The Legislative Committee can provide structural assistance to these ad hoc committees.
Throughout this report, references to the committees of the Chicago Bar Association include the committees of the Young Lawyers Section