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Houses active as session nears end

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As this year's legislative session winds down, several bills of interest to the legal community have made it through both houses, but many remained stuck in conference committee Thursday.

Senate Bill 163, a child support bill with the controversial provision allowing for garnishment of back child support from casino winnings, passed the full Senate 49-0 Thursday.

SB 394, an attorney general matters bill, has been signed by the president pro tempore. The bill authorizes the attorney general to intervene in a declaratory judgment action alleging a statute or ordinance is unconstitutional, as well as allows the AG to file an amicus brief without permission of the parties or court.

SB 36 also has been signed by the president pro tempore. The bill provides that magistrates who meet certain criteria may be certified as special judges.

SB 140, dealing with adoption matters, passed out of conference committee and is now ready for enrollment.

House Bill 1154, allowing commissioners in Marion County to have the same powers and duties as magistrates, is ready for enrollment. The bill passed the House unanimously Monday.

HB 1193 is also ready for enrollment, passing Monday by a vote of 91-1. The bill establishes a law enforcement, school policing, and youth work group run by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. The work group will consist of 26 voting members, including an attorney, law school professor, and judge. The group will submit annual reports with information on legislation and training curricula for schools and law enforcement to various officials, including the governor and the Indiana Supreme Court chief justice.

Several bills remained in conference committee at Indiana Lawyer deadline.

The Senate and the House released conference committee reports for SB 307 Thursday, removing provisions added by the House concerning the establishment of a third Bartholomew Superior Court and a unified Clark Circuit Court. The Senate report passed late Thursday afternoon.

SB 149, a Department of Child Services bill that has added language about out-of-state placements, remained in conference committee Thursday. Also stalling in conference committees were SB 224, a bill that specifies how sex offenders can remove their names from the registry if they qualify; SB 399 that deals with caps on fines for moving violations; HB 1271 on problem-solving courts; and HB 1276, which was amended to add language requiring the Judicial Technology Automation Committee to report on the number of divorce decrees entered in the state.

The General Assembly intended to wrap up the session before March 14, possibly concluding Thursday, but that was still up in the air at IL deadline.

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