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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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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