July means new laws

July 1, 2008
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Today the majority of bills signed into law by Gov. Mitch Daniels in February and March go into effect. There are a lot of new laws that are of interest to the legal community – judges’ pensions, public records and criminal offenders, juvenile offenders, and inmate credit time, just to name a few.

In combing through list of the new laws, a few jumped out at me. One that many businesses might not realize takes affect today is the requirement of lactation support in the workplace. This means employers who have at least 25 workers have to provide as reasonably possible a private location for an employee to pump breast milk and a refrigerator to store the breast milk. This is great news for the working mothers who have to go a bathroom stall to pump or give up on breastfeeding because of potentially cumbersome logistics when they are at work.

Did you know that we are now able to get an Abraham Lincoln license plate from the BMV celebrating the bicentennial of his birth? The plates are just one more way for Indiana to remind everyone that Indiana was Lincoln’s boyhood home, and it gives Hoosiers yet another option for making a statement with our license plates. So far, I’m not aware of any lawsuits filed as a result of the issuance of these new Abe plates.

Another law passed this session – thought it doesn’t take effect until 2010 – is detergents used in household dishwashers are now going to be subject to prohibition under Indiana Code Section 13-18-9.

Taking effect today, however, is the law that allows a vehicle to be equipped on a year-round basis with tires that have retractable tire studs as long as those studs remain retracted from May 2 to Sept. 30. Although the topic of the law is kind of odd, it does aim to continue to protect Indiana’s roads during the summer from unnecessary damage from those studs.

I must admit I am a bit saddened my favorite introduced bill from this past session didn’t become a law – SB 191. This bill required retail establishments, except for some gas stations, to make employee toilet facilities available to the public if no other facilities were readily available. Did that really need to be a law?

Are there any bills that you are surprised didn’t make it into law or any that surprise you made it all the way to the governor’s office? What was your favorite off-the-wall bill introduced last session?

UPDATE: The Indiana Supreme Court handed down four opinions yesterday afternoon, bringing the total in June to 25. That's the fewest opinions released by the high court in June in the last three years.
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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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