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Last day for legislators to file bills

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Today is the deadline for state senators to file Senate bills to be considered during the 2011 session. State representatives’ deadline for filing House bills was Tuesday and they have until today to file vehicle bills.

Several bills filed in the past week may be of interest to the Indiana legal community.

Senate Bill 344 proposes to eliminate the death penalty in Indiana. The bill would commute the sentence of anyone currently on death row to a sentence of life in prison without parole. SB 413 establishes the Office of the Child Advocate, and its duties would include taking all possible action to ensure the legal, civil, and special rights of children. The governor would appoint the child advocate. The office would also be required to create an annual report on its activities and the status of children in Indiana.

In the House of Representatives, House Bill 1153 tackles two issues: problem-solving courts, and judges carrying handguns. The bill expands the types of people that may participate in court-established alcohol- and drug-services programs and the procedures to be used to end a person’s participation in these kinds of programs. The bill also says a judicial officer who isn’t required to have a license to carry a handgun may not be prohibited from possessing a handgun on land or in buildings or other structures owned or leased by the state or political subdivision of the state; or in or on school property or property that is being used by a school for a school function, or a school bus.

HB 1215 provides that for purposes of a hearing concerning the admissibility of certain statements or videotapes made by a protected person, that person may attend the hearing through the use of closed-circuit television.

HB 1266 establishes a unified Circuit Court for Clark County.

HB 1332 deals with bias crimes and also requires law enforcement officers to receive training in identifying, responding to, and reporting bias crimes.

HB 1335 requires the Indiana Tax Court to try de novo appeals from final determinations of the Indiana Board of Tax Review and the distressed unit appeal board.

Senate Joint Resolution 13 defines marriage between one man and one woman. This proposed constitutional amendment must be adopted by two consecutive General Assemblies and be ratified by a majority of the state’s voters to become effective. It has not been previously agreed to by a General Assembly.

A complete list of legislation is available on the state’s website

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  1. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  3. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  4. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  5. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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