The short session begins

January 4, 2012
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The Indiana General Assembly is back in session. This year is a short session, so bills will move fast or die quickly. The Republicans will be pushing for right-to-work legislation. There are three bills filed in the House and one in the Senate on this topic. This issue caused numerous House Democrats to leave Indiana for several weeks last session to prevent the issue from passing here. Expect heated debates and throngs of people to gather at the Statehouse in support or against the legislation.

With the Super Bowl coming to Indianapolis in February, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General has made a push to pass a law to address human trafficking. The Super Bowl is supposedly a big draw for human traffickers.

There are bills addressing common topics each year - the courts, voting, sentencing, drugs, workplace issues, taxes, etc. But then there are those bills that leave you wondering if the legislator doesn’t have more pressing issues to address for his or her constituents.

Exhibit A: trying to regulate how someone sings the National Anthem at public schools. If someone wants to sing the National Anthem before a high school football game, he or she will have to enter into an agreement with the school that the singer will perform the National Anthem to certain standards – although the bill doesn’t explain what those standards are. They’ll be determined later. But if the singer doesn’t meet those standards, he or she will be fined $25. Schools also have to record every performance and keep them for two years.

Exhibit B: abolishing high school class basketball. Maybe it’s nostalgia for a story like “Hoosiers,” but this has been a point of contention with many Indiana residents since basketball was divided into classes in the late 1990s – like how most other high school sports are. For some reason, the outcry only seems to be with basketball.

Exhibit C: Making April 19 “Patriots’ Day.” The governor will issue a proclamation each year saying April 19 is Patriots’ Day and everyone should honor patriots. The bill leaves out whether we’ll get a three-day weekend out of it.

A complete list of bills filed to date is posted on the General Assembly’s website.
 

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  • Class Basketball
    Abolishing class basketball is the most important issue facing the State. Respectfully, if you don't understand that, you must not be from Indiana.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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