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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 2990

as introduced - 86th Legislature (2009 - 2010) Posted on 02/16/2010 10:10am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to guardians ad litem; establishing the State Guardian Ad Litem Board;
appropriating money;amending Minnesota Statutes 2008, sections 257.69,
subdivision 2; 260B.331, subdivision 6; 260C.331, subdivisions 3, 6; 518.165,
subdivision 3; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 480.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 257.69, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Guardiannew text begin ad litemnew text end; legal fees.

(a) The court may order expert witness
and guardian ad litem fees and other costs of the trial and pretrial proceedings, including
appropriate tests, to be paid by the parties in proportions and at times determined by the
court. The court shall require a party to pay part of the fees of court-appointed counsel
according to the party's ability to pay, but if counsel has been appointed the appropriate
agency shall pay the party's proportion of all other fees and costs. The agency responsible
for child support enforcement shall pay the fees and costs for blood or genetic tests in a
proceeding in which it is a party, is the real party in interest, or is acting on behalf of the
child. However, at the close of a proceeding in which paternity has been established under
sections 257.51 to 257.74, the court shall order the adjudicated father to reimburse the
public agency, if the court finds he has sufficient resources to pay the costs of the blood or
genetic tests. When a party bringing an action is represented by the county attorney, no
filing fee shall be paid to the court administrator.

(b) In each fiscal year, the commissioner of management and budget shall deposit
guardian ad litem reimbursements in the general fund and credit them to a separate
account with the deleted text begintrial courtsdeleted text endnew text begin State Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end. The balance of this account
is appropriated to the deleted text begintrial courtsdeleted text endnew text begin State Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end and does not cancel but
is available until expended. deleted text beginExpenditures by the state court administrator's officedeleted text endnew text begin Revenuenew text end
from this account must be deleted text beginbased on the amount of the guardian ad litem reimbursements
received by the state from the courts in each judicial district
deleted text endnew text begin spent in the judicial district
in which the reimbursement is collected
new text end.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 260B.331, subdivision 6, is amended to read:


Subd. 6.

Guardian ad litem fees.

(a) In proceedings in which the court appoints a
guardian ad litem pursuant to section 260B.163, subdivision 6, paragraph (a), the court
may inquire into the ability of the parents to pay for the guardian ad litem's services and,
after giving the parents a reasonable opportunity to be heard, may order the parents to
pay guardian fees.

(b) In each fiscal year, the commissioner of management and budget shall deposit
guardian ad litem reimbursements in the general fund and credit them to a separate
account with the deleted text begintrial courtsdeleted text endnew text begin State Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end. The balance of this account
is appropriated to the deleted text begintrial courtsdeleted text endnew text begin State Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end and does not cancel but
is available until expended. deleted text beginExpenditures by the state court administrator's officedeleted text endnew text begin Revenuenew text end
from this account must be deleted text beginbased on the amount of the guardian ad litem reimbursements
received by the state from the courts in each judicial district
deleted text endnew text begin spent in the judicial district
in which the reimbursement is collected
new text end.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 260C.331, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Court expenses.

The following expenses are a charge upon the county
in which proceedings are held upon certification of the judge of juvenile court or upon
such other authorization provided by law:

(1) the fees and mileage of witnesses, and the expenses and mileage of officers
serving notices and subpoenas ordered by the court, as prescribed by law;

(2) the expense of transporting a child to a place designated by a child-placing agency
for the care of the child if the court transfers legal custody to a child-placing agency;

(3) the expense of transporting a minor to a place designated by the court;

(4) reasonable compensation for an attorney appointed by the court to serve as
counseldeleted text begin, except in the Eighth Judicial District where the state courts shall pay for counsel
to a guardian ad litem until the recommendations of the task force created in Laws 1999,
chapter 216, article 7, section 42, are implemented
deleted text end.

The State deleted text begincourtsdeleted text endnew text begin Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end shall pay for guardian ad litem expensesnew text begin
and reasonable compensation for an attorney to serve as counsel for a guardian ad litem, if
necessary
new text end.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 260C.331, subdivision 6, is amended to read:


Subd. 6.

Guardian ad litem fees.

(a) In proceedings in which the court appoints a
guardian ad litem pursuant to section 260C.163, subdivision 5, clause (a), the court may
inquire into the ability of the parents to pay for the guardian ad litem's services and,
after giving the parents a reasonable opportunity to be heard, may order the parents to
pay guardian fees.

(b) In each fiscal year, the commissioner of management and budget shall deposit
guardian ad litem reimbursements in the general fund and credit them to a separate
account with the deleted text begintrial courtsdeleted text endnew text begin State Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end. The balance of this account
is appropriated to the deleted text begintrial courtsdeleted text endnew text begin State Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end and does not cancel but
is available until expended. deleted text beginExpenditures by the state court administrator's officedeleted text endnew text begin Revenuenew text end
from this account must be deleted text beginbased on the amount of the guardian ad litem reimbursements
received by the state from the courts in each judicial district
deleted text endnew text begin spent in the judicial district
in which the reimbursement is collected
new text end.

Sec. 5.

new text begin [480.35] STATE GUARDIAN AD LITEM BOARD.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Structure; membership. new text end

new text begin (a) The State Guardian Ad Litem Board is
established in the judicial branch. The board is not subject to the administrative control
of the judiciary. The State Guardian Ad Litem Board shall consist of seven members
including:
new text end

new text begin (1) three members appointed by the Supreme Court who include two attorneys
admitted to practice law in the state and one public member; and
new text end

new text begin (2) four members appointed by the governor.
new text end

new text begin The appointing authorities may not appoint an active judge to be a member of the
State Guardian Ad Litem Board, but may appoint a retired judge.
new text end

new text begin (b) All candidates shall demonstrate an interest in maintaining a high quality,
independent guardian ad litem program for the advocacy of the best interests of children
as required in juvenile and family court. The candidates shall be well acquainted with the
guardian ad litem program. At least three members of the board shall be from judicial
districts other than the First, Second, Fourth, and Tenth Judicial Districts. The terms,
compensation, and removal of members shall be as provided in section 15.0575. The
Supreme Court shall appoint the chair from among the membership for a term of two years.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Duties and responsibilities. new text end

new text begin (a) The State Guardian Ad Litem Board shall
create and administer a statewide, independent guardian ad litem program to advocate for
the best interests of children, minor parents, and incompetent adults in juvenile and family
court cases as defined in Rule 901.01 of the Rules of Guardian Ad Litem Procedure in
Juvenile and Family Court matters.
new text end

new text begin (b) The board shall:
new text end

new text begin (1) approve and recommend to the legislature a budget for the board and the
guardian ad litem program;
new text end

new text begin (2) establish procedures for distribution of funding under this section to the guardian
ad litem program; and
new text end

new text begin (3) establish guardian ad litem program standards, administrative policies,
procedures, and rules consistent with statute and rules of court.
new text end

new text begin (c) The board may:
new text end

new text begin (1) adopt standards, policies, or procedures necessary to ensure quality advocacy
for the best interests of children;
new text end

new text begin (2) propose statutory changes to the legislature and rule changes to the Supreme
Court that are in the best interests of children and the operation of the guardian ad litem
program; and
new text end

new text begin (3) appoint an advisory committee to make recommendations to assist the board in
its duties and to report to the board on issues related to the guardian ad litem program.
The advisory committee shall be subject to the provisions of section 15.059 and shall
expire on June 30, 2014.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin State guardian ad litem program administrator. new text end

new text begin The State Guardian
Ad Litem Board shall appoint a program administrator who serves at the pleasure of the
board. The program administrator is not required to be licensed to practice law. The
program administrator shall attend all meetings of the board, but may not vote, and shall:
new text end

new text begin (1) carry out all administrative functions necessary for the efficient and effective
operation of the board and the guardian ad litem program, including but not limited to
hiring, supervising, and disciplining program staff and guardians ad litem;
new text end

new text begin (2) implement, as necessary, resolutions, standards, rules, regulations, and policies
of the board;
new text end

new text begin (3) keep the board fully advised as to its financial condition, and prepare and submit
to the board the annual guardian ad litem program and State Guardian Ad Litem Board
budget and other financial information as requested by the board;
new text end

new text begin (4) recommend to the board the adoption of rules and regulations necessary for the
efficient operation of the board and the state guardian ad litem program; and
new text end

new text begin (5) perform other duties prescribed by the board.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Administration. new text end

new text begin The board may contract with the Office of State Court
Administrator for administrative support services for the fiscal years following fiscal
year 2011.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Benefits. new text end

new text begin Any guardian ad litem employee who transferred to state
employment on or before July 1, 2005, may retain county benefits elected under section
480.181.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Access to records. new text end

new text begin Access to records of the state guardian ad litem program
is subject to the Rules of Public Access for Records of the Judicial Branch. The State
Guardian Ad Litem Board may propose amendments for Supreme Court consideration.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Fees and costs; civil actions on contested case. new text end

new text begin Sections 15.039 and
15.471 to 15.474 apply to the State Guardian Ad Litem Board.
new text end

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 518.165, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Fees.

(a) A guardian ad litem appointed under either subdivision 1 or 2
may be appointed either as a volunteer or on a fee basis. If a guardian ad litem is appointed
on a fee basis, the court shall enter an order for costs, fees, and disbursements in favor
of the child's guardian ad litem. The order may be made against either or both parties,
except that any part of the costs, fees, or disbursements which the court finds the parties
are incapable of paying shall be borne by the State deleted text begincourtsdeleted text endnew text begin Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end. The
costs of court-appointed counsel to the guardian ad litem shall be paid by the deleted text begincounty in
which the proceeding is being held
deleted text endnew text begin State Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end if a party is incapable
of paying for them. deleted text beginUntil the recommendations of the task force created in Laws 1999,
chapter 216, article 7, section 42, are implemented, the costs of court-appointed counsel
to a guardian ad litem in the Eighth Judicial District shall be paid by the state courts if a
party is incapable of paying for them.
deleted text end In no event may the court order that costs, fees, or
disbursements be paid by a party receiving public assistance or legal assistance or by a
party whose annual income falls below the poverty line as established under United States
Code, title 42, section 9902(2).

(b) In each fiscal year, the commissioner of management and budget shall deposit
guardian ad litem reimbursements in the general fund and credit them to a separate
account with the deleted text begintrial courtsdeleted text endnew text begin State Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end. The balance of this account
is appropriated to the deleted text begintrial courtsdeleted text endnew text begin State Guardian Ad Litem Boardnew text end and does not cancel but
is available until expended. deleted text beginExpenditures by the state court administrator's officedeleted text endnew text begin Revenuenew text end
from this account must be deleted text beginbased on the amount of the guardian ad litem reimbursements
received by the state from the courts in each judicial district
deleted text endnew text begin spent in the judicial district
in which the reimbursement is collected
new text end.

Sec. 7. new text beginTRANSITION.
new text end

new text begin The State Guardian Ad Litem Board shall be established by October 1, 2010. The
state guardian ad litem program administrator shall be appointed according to Minnesota
Statutes, section 480.35, and the operational structure of the board and guardian ad litem
program shall be established during fiscal year 2011. During fiscal year 2011, the state
court administrator and judicial district offices shall continue to provide administrative
support and management oversight services as requested by the State Guardian Ad Litem
Board. Existing judicial branch policies for guardians ad litem shall apply until those
policies are replaced by policies of the State Guardian Ad Litem Board.
new text end

Sec. 8. new text beginFUNDING; TRANSFER.
new text end

new text begin (a) All guardian ad litem reimbursement account balances on June 30, 2010, shall be
transferred to the State Guardian Ad Litem Board from the trial courts and are appropriated
to the State Guardian Ad Litem Board for the provision of guardian ad litem services.
new text end

new text begin (b) The appropriation to the State Guardian Ad Litem Board for costs associated
with the establishment of the board and operation of the guardian ad litem program in
fiscal year 2011 shall be paid for by a transfer of $....... from the trial court appropriation
for the guardian ad litem program. Thereafter, the legislature shall appropriate money to
the State Guardian Ad Litem Board for the purpose of payment of all financial obligations
of the board and guardian ad litem program.
new text end

Sec. 9. new text beginEFFECTIVE DATE.
new text end

new text begin Sections 1 to 8 are effective July 1, 2010.
new text end