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Governor signs courts, judicial age bills

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Gov. Mitch Daniels has signed into law changes to various courts around the state, as well as the legislation that removes age restrictions of certain judges who run for office.

The governor signed House Enrolled Act 1266 on Tuesday. The legislation unifies courts under one Circuit court in Clark, Henry, and Madison counties respectively. It also changes how Lake Superior County judges are selected – instead of elections, those judges will be chosen by a nominating commission and appointed by the governor.

HEA 1266 also strikes out the language in statute that requires someone be less than 70 years old before taking judicial office. In addition, it removes the provision that a Marion County judge must retire when turning 75.

Gov. Daniels also signed Senate Enrolled Act 463, which includes similar language as HEA 1266 removing the age restrictions to run for judicial office.

Also on Tuesday, the governor signed HEA 1153, which deals with problem-solving courts, and HEA 1001 – the budget bill – which includes an automated record-keeping fee of $5 beginning July 1. The money from this fee will go to the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee to fund projects such as Odyssey, a statewide case management system. The fee is a $2 decrease from the current fee. The budget bill also includes language stating that a judicial pay increase for the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years can’t happen unless it is approved by the Indiana Supreme Court’s chief justice.

The governor also has signed SEA 590, the illegal immigration legislation, HEA 1083, which deals with various criminal law matters; and SEA 582, which deals with settlement conferences in residential foreclosures.

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