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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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