July 30, 2014 — At its recently-concluded 2014 Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, the Executive Committee of the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) authorized the appointment of four new drafting committees and two new study committees.
The new drafting committees are:
Drafting Committee on Divided Trusteeship An increasingly common practice in contemporary estate planning and asset management is the naming of a trustee that is given custody of the trust property, but with one or more of the investment, distribution or administration functions of the trusteeship being given to a person or persons who are not formally designated as trustees. This is the problem of divided trusteeship. There is much uncertainty about the fiduciary status of nontrustees who have control or potential control over a function of trusteeship and about the fiduciary responsibility of trustees with regard to actions taken by such nontrustees. Existing uniform trust and estate statutes inadequately address the issues and are at risk of becoming obsolete unless they are amended to take account of these developments. This Committee will draft legislation on divided trusteeship and also will draft conforming amendments to other uniform trust and estate acts as appropriate.
Drafting Committee to Revise or Amend the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act The UGPPA was approved by the ULC in 1982, and amended in 1989 and last revised in 1997. Nearly 20 states have enacted one or the other version of the act. This drafting committee will revise selected portions of the UGPPA in order to implement some of the recommendations of the Third National Guardianship Summit and otherwise to update the act. The National Guardianship Network (NGN) is a collaboration of ten national organizations that work toward effective adult guardianship law and practice.
Drafting Committee on Non-Parental Rights to Child Custody and Visitation State legislation and judicial decisions concerning the rights of third parties who are not parents (such as grandparents, stepparents, domestic partners, and siblings) to rights of custody of or visitation with a child vary greatly. Those rights are also affected by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), which held that courts must give deference to decisions of fit parents concerning the raising of children, including concerning grandparents’ visitation rights. This drafting committee will draft an act concerning the rights of third parties other than parents to custody of or visitation with a child. The drafting committee is not authorized to undertake any revisions or the Uniform Parentage Act.
Drafting Committee on Social Media Privacy The use of social media in the United States is burgeoning, and it is now not uncommon for employers to ask current and prospective employees to grant the employer access to social media accounts. Educational institutions also sometimes seek to examine the social media presence of current or prospective students. During 2012 - 2014, seventeen states enacted varying legislation on social media privacy, and numerous additional bills on these topics were introduced during the 2014 legislative sessions. This drafting committee will draft legislation concerning employer’s access to employees’ or prospective employees’ social media accounts and educational institutions’ access to students’ or prospective students’ social media accounts, and the committee’s charge is limited to these issues.
The new study committees are:
Study Committee on State Regulation of Driverless Cars Autonomous vehicle technology is rapidly maturing, and that technology (or driverless cars) will soon be ready to test nationwide. Four states and the District of Columbia have already enacted legislation concerning some aspects of state regulation of driverless cars, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued guidelines for states that may seek to regulate driverless cars. This study committee will study the need for and feasibility of drafting state legislation concerning the regulation of driverless cars.
Study Committee on the Transfer and Recording of Consumer Debt Consumer debt, particularly past-due consumer credit-card debt, is frequently sold by the original creditor to other entities that specialize in debt collection. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 2013 issued a “Best Practices” document that expressed concern about safety, soundness and consumer protection issues involved with such sales of consumer debt, and some have proposed the creation of a national debt registry, or multiple registries, that would track title to consumer debt that has been transferred. This study committee will study the need for and feasibility of state legislation on the transfer and recording of consumer debt and will also investigate the viability of a registration system to record transfers of consumer debt.
Further information on the new drafting and study committees, as well as information on the Uniform Law Commission, can be found at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.
Drafting committees, composed of commissioners, with participation from observers, advisors and reporter-drafters, meet throughout the year. Tentative drafts are not submitted to the entire Commission until they have received extensive committee consideration.
Proposed acts are subjected to rigorous examination and debate before they become eligible for designation as ULC products. The final decision on whether an act is ready for promulgation to the states is made near the close of an annual meeting, on a vote by states basis, with an affirmative vote of twenty or more states necessary for final approval.
The Uniform Law Commission, now in its 123rd year, provides states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law. The organization comprises more than 300 lawyers, judges, and law professors, appointed by the states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to research, draft and promote enactment of uniform state laws in areas of state law where uniformity is desirable and practical. Since its inception in 1892, the group has promulgated more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, and the Uniform Partnership Act.