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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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