Sections and Committees are strongly encouraged to review proposed city, state and federal legislation and proposed court rules, to make suggestions regarding legislation and court rules of interest to the Section or Committee, and to participate in the drafting of legislation and court rules to address specific issues. All Section and Committee recommendations must be approved by the Board of Governors before they are made to federal, state or city legislators.
To help in this process, the Association has a Legislative Liaison Committee which follows proposed state legislation, has specific procedures for establishing and implementing legislative policy, and works with a lobbyist in Harrisburg. Charles Klitsch, the Association’s Director of Public & Legal Services, reviews legislation introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives, for referral to the appropriate Sections and Committees for review and comment. The Association also has a City Policy Committee chaired by lawyers who initiate programs with City officials and are available to lobby officials in City Hall.
When you receive or become aware of a bill related to the subject area of your Section or Committee, it is important that it be reviewed as soon as possible. Comments or requests for action should be directed to either the Co-Chairs of the Legislative Liaison Committee or City Policy Committee, and Charles Klitsch. Any delay may prevent the Association from setting forth its position successfully before the appropriate legislative body.
If a Section or Committee requests that the Bar Association take a position on any legislation or proposed court rule, they will be asked to prepare an appropriate resolution for Cabinet review and ultimately for presentation to the Board of Governors. Note that the resolution should describe the features of the bill or rule which are opposed or endorsed. While the bill number may be listed in the resolution, it is recommended that the RESOLVED clause(s) include language such as “or any similar legislation.” Resolutions drafted in this way allow us to be flexible in working to defeat or pass legislation that may be reintroduced in the same session with a new bill number or introduced during subsequent legislative sessions.
The Legislative Liaison Committee is composed of representatives of each of the Association’s Sections and Committees, plus other interested individuals. At its monthly meetings, the Committee reviews and discusses state legislative events that may affect the Philadelphia Bar Association and hears an oral report from the Association’s state legislative counsel.
The Legislative Liaison Committee does not make specific recommendations on specific pieces of state legislation, but rather helps to coordinate the overall legislative policy of the Association. It is impossible for the Association to influence every piece of legislation. Primary concentration is given to state legislation that is of interest to the profession as a whole, or to legislation which requires the expertise of the members of the Bar.