The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to issue a proposal to have new rules in place for corporate annual meetings in 2008, according to published reports.

The Los Angeles Times reported that SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said that the proposal, aimed at promoting shareholder democracy, will address the ability of shareholders to nominate corporate directors and place candidates' names on the company's proxy ballots.

Before issuing the proposal sometime this summer, Cox said that the SEC will conduct a full review of shareholder proxy-voting issues, as well as review whether companies should set up Web sites for investors to communicate with each other about pending proposals. On such sites, shareholders could make nonbinding proposals that other investors could vote to adopt, or not.

Last fall, a federal court rejected the SEC staff's view that companies could exclude shareholders from considering election-related proposals, including those targeting shareholder access to corporate proxy ballots.

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