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Fewer topics but interim committees still have work to do

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The internal changes to the Legislature’s interim study committee structure are not readily visible, but majority and minority leaders are optimistic the alterations will streamline the process and control the workload.

Under key provisions of a bill approved during the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly, the number of topics has been reduced and the Legislative Council has more control over what issues are studied. Also the legislators appointed to the interim committees will be drawn from the standing committees that review similar topics during the session.

“It does restrict the number of topics actually addressed by the committees and that is what really had gotten so out of hand,” Indiana Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said. “Sixty or 70 topics assigned with the same number of meetings they have now…, the committees were not able to spend sufficient time on those critical issues. So it’s hopefully a course to give them vision, to give them direction and to keep them pointed in the right direction.”

Working under Senate Enrolled Act 80, the Legislative Council met Wednesday and unanimously approved the resolution that assigned about 37 topics to 15 interim study committees.

Among the committees and their topics are:

  • Interim Study Committee on Corrections & Criminal Code: autism spectrum disorders of defendants; juvenile justice issues; and changes to the criminal code.
  • Interim Study Committee on Courts & Judiciary: Digital privacy; nonparty defense; adoption and requests for new courts or changes in the jurisdiction of existing courts.
  • Interim Study Committee on Education: pre-kindergarten and student discipline, including the suspension, expulsion or exclusion of a student from school.


The chairs of the study committee will not be able to introduce additional topics without the approval of the Legislative Council’s Personnel Subcommittee. Bosma reiterated this provision is meant to control the number of topics. Without the preapproval process, he said, the concern is the issues not assigned would be submitted directly to the chairs of the committees to pick up.

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, sees no problem with the committee chairs being prohibited from adding new study topics.  

During the 2013 interim session, he filled the agenda of his Commission on Courts with additional topics from the one assigned. Although he will now have to get thumbs up before assigning new topics, Steele does not think he will have any problem getting preapproval.  

Senate minority leader Tim Lanane also does not anticipate problems under the new committee structure.

“I think the Senate bill made some positive changes just in terms of how administratively do we establish the committees and we process the committees,” the Anderson Democrat said. “But I don’t think it disrupts what I think is the very important work of the interim study committees.”



 

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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

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  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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