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Legislative Council approves interim committees but concedes number becoming unwieldy

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While Indiana's Legislative Council passed by consent Thursday the resolution creating 18 commissions and interim study committees, leaders in the Indiana House of Representatives voiced concerns over the growing number of summer study committees and unwieldy list of topics to review.

The interim groups will meet during the summer and fall to study a host of issues and make recommendations and propose legislation to the Indiana General Assembly.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, pointed out the high number of study committees that were required by statute. That number, he said, is greater this interim than any he can remember in his 18 years serving on the Legislative Council.

As a result, the vast majority of discretionary topics did not make the cut, Bosma said, not because they were not worthy of study but because the list had become too long.

The Legislative Council is comprised of 12 voting members: six appointed from the Indiana Senate and six from the Indiana House of Representatives.

All the topics requested for further study – whether in a letter, resolution, or by statutory requirement – are complied into a list by the Legislative Services Agency, then the four leaders vote on each topic, Bosma said. Only those that get three votes are assigned to study committees.

After the Legislative Council adjourned, Bosma said the four legislative leaders are committed to exploring a revision of the study committee process that would involve a set of standing interim committees being assigned topics rather than having ad hoc interim study committees.
    
The interim study committees and their assigned topics approved for 2013 by the Legislative Council focusing on legal issues include:

Commission on Courts: Adding a magistrate in the Vanderburgh County Circuit Court.

Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee: prepare legislation that corrects statutes affected by HEA 1006; evaluate the criminal statues in I.C. 7.1 and I.C. 9; study the issue of recidivism; and study and make recommendations concerning advisory sentences, suspended sentences, criminal justice funding and sentencing laws.

Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana: study topics assigned by SEA 125 (vulnerable youth) and SEA 305 (due process for child care providers); and study use of photo identification for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients as well as study if Indiana should seek approval to allow the distribution of SNAP benefits on a bimonthly basis.

Interim Study Committee on Insurance: consumer lawsuit lending; study topics assigned by HEA 1132 (release of liens on mortgaged property) and HEA 1098 (uninsured motorists).

Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said after the Legislative Council meeting that he agreed with Speaker Bosma about the number of interim study committees and topics becoming too great. He said he thinks the envelope is being pushed and that it is becoming difficult to give a full vetting to the issues assigned for further study.

Also, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, announced the General Assembly would convene for a technical corrections day on June 12 with the purpose of overriding Gov. Mike Pence’s veto of House Bill 1546, a tax administration measure.

Of primary concern were provisions in the bill that allowed Jackson and Pulaski counties to impose an additional county adjusted gross income tax (CAGIT) rate to operate and maintain their jails and juvenile detention centers until 2024 and 2021, respectively. HB 1546 legalizes and validates taxes collected at the additional rate in Jackson County after June 30, 2011, and before July 1, 2013, as well as in Pulaski County after the eight years authorized by statute had elapsed and before July 1, 2013.
   
This will be the first time since the statute establishing a technical day was enacted in the mid-1990s that the Legislature will be using it to consider a veto override.

“It’s not our desire to do so, we’re not seeking it,” Bosma said, “but it appeared it was more prudent to consider 1546 only on that day prior to July 1….” Otherwise, he said, an “administrative nightmare” would have happened with the Indiana Department of Revenue having to work its way through tax refunds in Jackson and Pulaski counties for individuals who may or may not live there today.

“If there was an alternative, an administrative alternative, to get us through the interim until next year, that would have been the best solution, but it was clear they had to go through a refund process if we didn’t override on June 12,” Bosma said.  

 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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