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Committees discuss various bills in second week

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The Indiana General Assembly made some of its first votes this week, while four legislative committees discussed an array of issues that may be of interest to the state's legal community.

The House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 1044 on county clerk liability, which mirrors Senate Bill 29 that also passed unanimously in the Senate this week. Both will now move to the other house for consideration. The House also passed HB 1109 regarding satellite voting locations, an issue that went as high as the Indiana Supreme Court in the past two years. Representatives also passed by a 97-2 vote the comprehensive HB 1001 on lobbying and campaign contributions, while the Senate considered its own SB 114 on government ethics reform that the Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee had approved unanimously Jan. 11. All bills can be viewed completely at http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo.

The Senate Committee on Courts Criminal and Civil Matters met Tuesday and passed several bills on to the full Senate for consideration.

- SB 25 would legally allow a person to keep firearms locked in his vehicle on the property of a person, company, or governmental agency; passed 8-3.

- SB 27 deals with habitual offender filing deadlines; passed 8-2. - SB 71, which passed 9-0, targets the unlawful termination of a pregnancy in cases in which someone operates a vehicle while intoxicated and causes the fetus' death. - SB 147 passed 7-0 and provides that a law enforcement official who engages in sexual conduct with a child between 16 and 18 commits Class D felony child seduction. It also increases the penalty for false reporting.


- SB 178, dealing with custody and parenting time, was approved 5-4.

Senate Bill 148, dealing with corrections and developmental disability tracking, was withdrawn because of its potential financial impact of between $35,000 and $850,000 in new costs for prison inmate testing. Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville, plans to pursue an aspect that an entity be approved and accredited to provide certain services. The House Judiciary committee met Tuesday morning and considered key legislation:

- HB 1193, which passed 10-0, would create a 20-person work group to study and make recommendations to the Department of Education about school policing and racial disparity issues, as well as providing education and training to law enforcement on these topics.

- HB 1154 passed 11-0 and would convert all 24 Marion County commissioners to magistrates, with the county using an already-established county traffic infractions fee to pay for the conversion so that the state wouldn't have to pay the estimated $2.3 million cost. This would also allow the county to save money currently paid at the county level and possibly use it to pay for court-ordered guardian ad litem appointments. Representatives rejected the idea of attaching an amendment to allow Bartholomew Superior Court to establish its own fee to pay for converting its current Title IV-D commissioner to an elected judge position, in order to run a needed family court.


House Bill 1167, which would repeal a 2009 special session provision requiring the Department of Child Services to approve all out-of-state placements for juveniles, was not considered. The committee postponed until everyone who wants to testify about the legislation could attend the meeting.

The Senate Judiciary met for the second time on Wednesday and considered a bill that had previously come before it about child support as well as others involving noncode statutes, guardianships, trusts, and grandparent visitation. Sen. Richard Bray, R-Martinsville, said members will likely only have one more meeting on its own bills before they switch focus to consider House-approved bills, and so the other 46 Senate bills currently assigned to it probably won't all get the committee's attention.

- SB 163, targeting child support collections and requiring the gaming industry to intercept certain larger winnings on people who owe child support payments, passed 9-1. - SB 59 on grandparent visitation passed 9-0 with two amendments

- SB 65 on a guardian's powers in estate planning passed 10-1.

-  SB 67, which deals with trust matters that include protecting interests and funds held by beneficiaries, passed 9-1.

-  SB 134, a bill referred from the interim Code Revision Commission and corrects and codifies certain noncode statutes, passed 10-0. On Wednesday, the House Courts and Criminal Code considered three bills:

- HB 1118 on nuisance actions by community organizations passed by a 9-3 vote. Representatives voted 12-0 to pass HB 1186, allowing interlocal agreements between city and town courts. Members held off on voting until next week on HB 1163, which would require records and criminal histories be expunged for anyone who's been released by a court after being exonerated by DNA evidence.

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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