: Scales of Justice Award highlights the contributions of legislators to a stronger justice system:

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    By org tsolberg wisbar Tom Solberg, Media Relations Coordinator, State Bar of Wisconsin

    Scales of Justice award winners

    (From left) State Bar Legislative Oversight Committee chair Michael Rosenberg, Rep. Bill Kramer (Waukesha), Sen. Jim Sullivan (Wauwatosa), Rep. Fred Kessler (Milwaukee), and Rep. Gary Hebl (Sun Prairie). Not pictured Sen. Lena Taylor (Milwaukee).

    Michael Rosenberg

    State Bar Legislative Oversight Committee chair Michael Rosenberg presented the awards at the State Bar Board of Governors meeting on June 25.

    Scales of Justice

    Sen. Jim Sullivan (Wauwatosa), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Joint Legislative Law Revision Committee, was thanked by the State Bar for his efforts.

    July 1, 2010 – Five members of the Wisconsin Legislature have received the State Bar's "Scales of Justice Award" for their efforts to foster and maintain the high standards of Wisconsin's judicial system and legal profession.

    "The State Bar of Wisconsin is committed to the vital mission of improving the administration of justice for all of Wisconsin's citizens," explains Atty. Michael Rosenberg, Chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee. The awards "reflect the positive impact dedicated legislators can have on issues of importance to the courts, the legal profession and the public."

    The awards, presented at the June 25 meeting of the Board of Governors, went to: Representatives Gary Hebl (Sun Prairie), Fred Kessler (Milwaukee) and Bill Kramer (Waukesha); and Senators Lena Taylor (Milwaukee) and Jim Sullivan (Wauwatosa).

    Representative Gary Hebl, who chairs the Assembly Judiciary Committee, helped lead legislative efforts to:

    • Increase funding for private bar attorneys who accept indigent defendants (AB 224);
    • Update the eligibility criteria for individuals to qualify for a public defender (SB 263, which was enacted as 2009 WI Act 164); and
    • Create a higher homestead exemption, which protects specified property of a debtor from the collection attempts made by a creditor (SB 259, which was also enacted into law as 2009 WI Act 80).

    Representative Fred Kessler, a former circuit court judge, worked to:

    • Increase funding for private bar attorneys who accept indigent defendants (AB 224);
    • Update the eligibility criteria for individuals to qualify for a public defender (SB 263, which was enacted as 2009 WI Act 164); and
    • Return 17-year olds to juvenile court jurisdiction (AB 732).

    Representative Bill Kramer, a member of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and a volunteer judge for the State Bar's annual We the People competition, was recognized for his work to:

    • Update the eligibility criteria for individuals to qualify for a public defender (SB 263, which was enacted as 2009 WI Act 164); and
    • Create a higher homestead exemption, which protects specified property of a debtor from the collection attempts made by a creditor (SB 259, which was enacted into law as 2009 WI Act 80).

    Senator Jim Sullivan, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Joint Legislative Law Revision Committee, was thanked by the State Bar for his efforts to:

    • Resist plans to impose the sales tax on legal services;
    • Update the statute of limitations for intentional torts (SB 182, which was enacted into law as 2009 WI Act 120);
    • Update IRA conversion and retirement limit change to conform with federal law changes (SB 439, which was enacted into law as 2009 Act 161);
    • Support an increase in civil legal needs funding;
    • Update the eligibility criteria for individuals to qualify for a public defender (SB 263, which was enacted as 2009 WI Act 164); and
    • Support increased funding for State Public Defender and District Attorney funding.

    Senator Lena Taylor, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and member of the Joint Finance Committee, was recognized by the State Bar for her efforts to:

    • Defeat a budget proposal to eliminate Administrative Law Judges in the state Department of Workforce Development?s Equal Rights Division;
    • Update the eligibility criteria for individuals to qualify for a public defender (SB 263, which was enacted as 2009 WI Act 164);
    • Increase funding for the Access to Justice Commission as part of the biennial state budget;
    • Return 17-year olds to juvenile court jurisdiction (AB 732);
    • Author and gain enactment of legislation to resolve a potential state tax pitfall arising from ambiguous federal tax legislation (SB 670, which was enacted into law as 2009 Act 341); and
    • Create a higher homestead exemption, which protects specified property of a debtor from the collection attempts made by a creditor (SB 259, which was enacted into law as 2009 WI Act 80).

    The State Bar's Scales of Justice Award was created by the Legislative Oversight Committee and the association's Government Relations Team as way to formally recognize and thank policymakers for their work to improve the administration of and access to Wisconsin's justice system. For more information about the State Bar's advocacy efforts on behalf of an improved justice system, visit the Government Relations Team page.