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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Senate Bill 148, dealing with corrections and developmental disability tracking, was withdrawn because of its potential financial impact of between $35,000 and $850,000 in new costs for prison inmate testing.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 like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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