Message from the Chair

Publication year2016
AuthorBy Robert S. Horwitz
Message from the Chair

By Robert S. Horwitz

This will be my final Message from the Chair, since Betty Williams became the Chair of the Taxation Section in October. The Taxation Section is much changed since I became Chair in October 2015. First, based on the success of the Women in Tax Law session at last year's Annual Meeting of the California Tax Bar, the Section recently formed a new standing committee named "Women in Tax Law Committee." The first co-chairs are Renae Welder and Annette Nellen. I thank Adria Price, the able editor of the California Tax Lawyer, for her role in helping form the Committee, and for the superb job she has done as editor of the California Tax Lawyer.

As mentioned in my most recent Message from the Chair, a change that affects the entire State Bar is that the Legislature made the Bagley-Keene open meetings act applicable to the State Bar, including the sections. This caused the Taxation Section, and the other Sections, to alter the way in which they operate.

The battle over deunification of the State Bar goes on. In June, the Assembly passed a state bar bill that would reduce the number of members of the Board of Trustees from 19 to 13, the majority of whom will be not be attorneys, create a state bar enforcement program monitor to monitor and evaluate the State Bar disciplinary systems and procedure and create a commission to recommend whether the State Bar should remain a unified bar or be de-unified. This bill has not been enacted and as of this date, the Legislature has yet to enact a state bar bill for 2017. Whether one will be enacted by the August 31 deadline is unknown.

Speaking of de-unification, the Executive Committee, at its June quarterly meeting, passed the following motion in favor of the State Bar de-unifying:

That the State Bar of California deunify under either of the two following scenarios:

  1. The sections form a voluntary nonprofit association, keeping the section reserve funds, with the option, for a period of 3-5 years following deunification, to have fees paid through the bar bill of the State Bar and to lease space and support staff from the State Bar; or
  2. To split the State Bar into two agencies:
    1. The State Bar of California, consisting of the sections and the current State Bar's community outreach and educational...

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