National Commission Recommends Five New Uniform Laws

by Thomas Morris

The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), established in 1892, consists of commissioners appointed by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. NCCUSL promotes uniformity for state laws in which uniformity is desirable and practicable by developing proposed uniform legislation that can be adopted by the various state legislatures.

Colorado’s commissioners are appointed by legislative leadership pursuant to section 2-3-601, C.R.S. Under Joint Rule 24 (b) (1) (D), the Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws (CCUSL) may recommend bills for introduction during a legislative session of the General Assembly. CCUSL meets at the annual summer NCCUSL conference to adopt a preliminary legislative agenda for the upcoming regular session. It then typically meets at least once prior to that regular session to finalize the agenda.

CCUSL will be meeting in Room 0112 at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, to discuss this year’s agenda. The meeting is open to the public.

NCCUSL held its annual conference in July in Nashville and adopted five new uniform laws:

  • Uniform Asset Freezing Orders Act. An asset-freezing order is a type of preliminary injunction that freezes the assets of a defendant to prevent a party from dissipating assets prior to a judgment. This uniform act provides a rigorous process for issuing an asset-freezing order with notice, drawing heavily on existing American common law as well as English and Canadian law.
  • Uniform Choice of Court Agreements Convention Implementation Act. This uniform act will assist in implementing and ratifying the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements and is meant to harmonize with federal implementing legislation.
  • Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act. The deployment of a custodial parent raises custody issues that are not adequately dealt with in the laws of most states. Currently, there is considerable variation in how courts approach custody issues when a parent is deployed. This uniform act applies generally to custody matters of service members, as well as to issues that arise on notice of and during deployment.
  • Uniform Manufactured Housing Act. This uniform act’s primary focus is to enable a purchaser to elect to treat his or her manufactured home (also commonly called a mobile home) as real property. This uniform act modernizes the law in this area, increases the supply of affordable housing by making manufactured home financing more available and affordable, and provides owners of manufactured homes with many of the same legal protections as owners of site-built homes.
  • Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act. A number of states currently treat premarital agreements and marital agreements under different legal standards, imposing higher burdens on those who wish to enforce marital agreements. However, this uniform act treats premarital agreements and marital agreements under the same set of principles and requirements. It also addresses the varying standards applicable to both types of agreements that have led to conflicting laws, judgments, and uncertainty about enforcement as couples move from state to state.

Also, the standing joint editorial board on the Uniform Commercial Code recently adopted the Uniform Commercial Code Article 4A Amendments (2012). Article 4A of the UCC relates to funds transfers within the national banking system. Federal regulations that will become effective in February 2013 necessitate a technical change to ensure that overseas commercial remittance transfers are covered by state law, while consumer remittance transfers will be covered by federal law.

CCUSL included these six acts in its preliminary legislative agenda for 2013. Also, CCUSL included two more acts previously approved by NCCUSL: the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, which standardizes the most important features of collaborative law, a form of alternative dispute resolution, and the Real Property Electronic Recording Act, which gives county clerks and recorders the legal authority to prepare for electronic recording of real property instruments.