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House speaker proposes lobbying reforms

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Indiana Speaker of the House B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, will propose a comprehensive series of ethics reforms in the 2010 legislative session that he said will impact lawmakers, members of the executive branch, and people who do business with the state.

Bauer has proposed three areas of reform: legislative branch restrictions, executive branch restrictions, and state contracting and contributions.

Lobbyists would be required to report any gift of more than $50 to a legislator, legislative candidate, or legislative employee. Anyone who holds a state elected office may not register as a lobbyist for one year after leaving office. Lobbyists also won't be able to represent multiple clients if there's a conflict of interest between those clients.

The proposed reforms also will require:

- Anyone appointed to a position in the executive branch by the governor won't be allowed to register as a lobbyist for one year after leaving the post.

- Committees representing the governor or any gubernatorial candidate will be prohibited from soliciting contributions or having fundraisers during the long session of the General Assembly or for a time period around Organization Day.

- People with state government contracts or who bid on contracts will be prohibited from making political contributions to individuals who hold state office or run for state office. Those who bid on or receive contracts will have to register with the state's election division. Violators will receive civil and criminal penalties and may lose their state contracts.

"By enacting these guidelines, we will make sure that any expenditure of state funds are based upon the quality of a contractor's work product rather than the size of their political contributions. These are reforms demanded by the people of Indiana, and I will move quickly to see them become law in 2010," Bauer said in a statement today.

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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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