I have been recently disappointed with some commentary by Greg McNeilly, but this release is very interesting:
Voluntary state bar legislation introduced in the Michigan Senate
LANSING, January 23, 2014 – Michigan Freedom Fund President Greg McNeilly today called on the Michigan Legislature to act quickly on legislation to make membership in the state bar association voluntary. Senate Bill 743 was introduced Thursday by state Sen. Arlan Meekhof.
40,000 workers are forced to pay dues to the State Bar of Michigan every year just to be allowed to practice law in Michigan. SB 743 would turn the Bar into a voluntary membership association, allowing attorneys to keep the wages they earn – including more than $7 million annually in legally mandated membership fees.
“No worker should have to sacrifice their paycheck in order to get and keep a job in Michigan,” said Michigan Freedom Fund President Greg McNeilly. “Professional associations representing groups like physicians and certified public accountants don’t force anyone to be a member – and 18 other states don’t force their attorneys to do so either – yet all of them still find a way to provide important services to their members.
“It is well past time for Michigan to become the freest, best place for anyone to practice any profession.”
The mandatory dues attorneys are forced to pay total more than $7 million each year. Those dues pay for $4 million in annual salaries for Bar employees, $2 million in benefits, $1 million in administrative costs, and $600,000 in office costs. Ethics and continuing education services are funded with fees above and beyond the mandatory annual dues and often run a significant surplus.
“Mandatory dues are completely unnecessary for the State Bar to do its job,” said McNeilly. “State Bar leadership simply has their own interests at heart, using their members’ paychecks to fund their own salaries and benefits, while their youngest members struggle with crushing student loan debt. No one should be punished financially just for doing a job they love.”
He is right.