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What is a Section-only Legislative Position?

by Sherri Knuth

MSBA sections and committees are encouraged to bring legislative proposals to the Legislative Committee for consideration as a position in the name of the MSBA, as described in my last article. For a variety of reasons, however, a section or committee may not meet the timeline for the Legislative Committee’s process. Sections and committees, therefore, are authorized to take positions on their own behalf. Such “section-only” positions remain valid only for the duration of the legislative biennium in which they were adopted.

Article 12.2 of the MSBA bylaws describes the requirements for taking a section-only position. These requirements are also included in the Legislative Proposal Form on the MSBA website. The form should be used when presenting a section-only position to the MSBA.

After submitting a proposal to the MSBA, a section or committee cannot immediately advance its position. Rather, a section or committee must wait three business days in order to give the MSBA president time to review the proposal.

The president may let the proposal move forward as a section-only position or may preempt the proposal. If preempted, the president’s decision must go before the Council for a vote at its next scheduled meeting, and the Council may reverse or amend the president’s decision by a majority vote.

Several section-only positions are active for the 2015-16 legislative biennium. The sections that have active section-only positions are Business law, Bankruptcy (on a federal issue), Family Law and Tax Law. The MSBA’s lobbying team often assists the sections on these positions as well as working on MSBA positions.

We’ll keep you updated on what’s going on at the legislature all session in our weekly e-newsletter, the Capitol Connection.