2009 bills update

February 23, 2009
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This is do-or-die week for some bills in the legislature. The third reading deadline is Wednesday and those that don’t make it out in their current form will die. A few will be folded into other bills in an attempt to move along in their quest to become a law. Here’s a follow-up on the bills I’ve written about in First Impressions:

- House Joint Resolution 9 – the election of Indiana Supreme Court justices. It’s still stuck in the committee, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one rolled into another bill to try to get another chance at life.

- HJR 7/HJR 8 – the “Defense of Marriage” amendment. These also haven’t made it out of committee, and I can see these trying to sneak their way into another piece of moving legislation.

- House Bill 1108 – regulation of roadside memorials. This hasn’t moved out of committee.

- Senate Bill 248 – hypnosis laws. It’s moved out of committee. I guess it’s important that a hypnotist be able to perform in a group setting for self-hypnosis, sports enhancement, improvement in test-taking, to try to stop smoking or to lose weight.

- HB 1250 – We mentioned this topic before in a June blog post. It looks like this civil rights bill which would extend anti-discriminatory and civil rights statutes to include prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other criteria, is stalled in its current form.

Check out Indiana Lawyer’s complete Statehouse Report (http://www.theindianalawyer.com/html/detail_page.asp?content=3199) listed on our Web site this year. In updating this, I’ve come across some moving legislation I find interesting. A few bills are listed below:



- SB 296, which removes the requirement that executions occur before sunrise. If the legislation becomes law, it would do away with a specific time requirement for execution and would direct the Sentencing Policy Study Committee to study the issue of confining people on death row in a maximum security prison other than the Indiana state prison until a reasonable time before execution. I wonder why the time requirement is being done away with – to make it more convenient for those who want to protest for or against the execution?

- HB 1235, which would require the polls to stay open until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Given the turnout for the last election, this makes complete sense and would be a benefit to people who can’t get to the polls before work or by 6 p.m.

- SB 223/HB 1642, which makes trafficking with an inmate a Class C felony if the trafficked item is a cell phone. This is apparently a problem in jails and prisons across the country, as I’ve read several news stories about this issue.

One other random thought: I find it difficult to write about bills without getting the Schoolhouse Rock song “I’m just a bill” stuck in my head. Anyone else have that problem?
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