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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Senate Bill 148, dealing with corrections and developmental disability tracking, was withdrawn because of its potential financial impact of between $35,000 and $850,000 in new costs for prison inmate testing.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. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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