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JTAC fee, court-reporter licensing bills proposed

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Court reporters would need licenses, there would be more money to implement the statewide case management system in trial courts, and convicted sex offenders would be banned from public libraries if these bills introduced this session become law.

Legislators went back to work Wednesday, filing more bills, many of which are of interest to the legal community.

Court reporters will need to be licensed if Senate Bill 206 passes. The bill establishes a court reporter board, which would determine the qualifications for licensing and continuing education.

Senate Bill 215 would amend the forfeiture statute by defining how much of seized property is considered law enforcement costs, depending on the value of the property seized. The bill also would allow a prosecutor to retain an attorney to bring a forfeiture action only if the Indiana Attorney General approves the compensation agreement. It would also cap the private attorney’s compensation depending on the amount of property seized. The law would prohibit a prosecutor from hiring a prosecuting attorney or deputy prosecutor to bring a forfeiture action.

SB 246 prohibits a class-action suit being brought on behalf of a person who hasn’t agreed to be a party to the class action.

SB 301 proposes increasing the automated record keeping fee from $7 to $10 between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2015. The fee would go back to $7 after July 1, 2015. The increased fee would go to the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee to pay for Odyssey, the statewide case management system it began implementing in late 2007. This isn’t the first time that this increased fee has been introduced. Last year, a similar bill was passed but died in conference committee.

SB 203 would establish a unified Circuit Court in Henry County. SB 212 provides that all Circuit, Superior, and Probate courts have original and concurrent jurisdiction in all civil and criminal cases and de novo appellate jurisdiction of appeals from city and town courts. In Marion County, these courts would have de novo appellate jurisdiction of appeals from Township Small Claims courts.

House Bill 1100 looks to ban sex offenders from public libraries. A registered sex offender who goes to the library would be committing a Class D felony, unless they are going there on Election Day to vote. Similar legislation was proposed during the 2010 session. HB 1108 would require a sexually violent predator or sex offender against children to inform their child’s elementary or secondary school that they are a sex offender. The legislation would only allow that offender on the school property if the offender is attending a meeting with a school official and is escorted by a school employee while on the property. All other sex offenders would be prohibited from being on school property unless the offender attends that particular school.

HB 1119 would create a rebuttable presumption that an award of joint legal custody is in the best interest of a child. The legislation also would repeal a provision that says a custodial parent may determine the child’s upbringing.

HB 1127 allows people who bring actions in court against the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to receive attorney’s fees for bringing the suit. It also establishes a litigation expenses reimbursement fund to compensate for attorney’s fees by depositing environmental civil penalties and 10 percent of the money the department would otherwise revert to the state general fund at the end of the fiscal year into the fund.

Legislators have until next week to file bills. A complete list of introduced legislation is available on the General Assembly’s website.
 

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