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Statehouse says yes to meth house database

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Indiana Lawyer Focus

The proliferation of methamphetamine in Indiana has often led state lawmakers to target the over-the-counter cold and allergy medications that contain the pseudoephedrine needed to make meth.

Since the 2009 session of the Indiana General Assembly, at least one bill has been introduced either limiting the amount of pseudoephedrine-containing medications that can be bought, or making the over-the-counter remedies available only with a prescription. In 2013, multiple bills were offered during the session.

mcnamara McNamara

The meth bill that passed during the 2014 session turns attention away from the ingredients and to the contamination left behind by active meth labs. House Enrolled Act 1141 establishes an online database where potential homebuyers and renters will be able to see if their property was the site of a lab.

“(The bill is) not really about preventing meth labs,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Niki Crawford, methamphetamine suppression section commander. “It’s just basically getting information out there to potential property purchasers.”

Crawford pointed out that only the meth labs discovered by the state police will be listed. Any clandestine labs that never attracted the attention of law enforcement will likely remain undisclosed.

Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Mount Vernon, authored the measure after seeing the impact of methamphetamine in her district which encompasses parts of Posey, Gibson and Vanderburgh counties. She has felt the negative impact from production of the illegal drug – a meth lab blew up a mile from her residence. She has spoken with individuals who want something done to curb the proliferation of meth, including an appraiser who became sick after inspecting an unknown meth house.

McNamara’s legislation gives the Indiana State Police the task of creating and maintaining the database. Properties that were former meth labs will only be listed if the site is not cleaned within six months of the lab being discovered. Once a residence has been decontaminated, it will be removed from the directory within 90 days.

HEA 1141 passed through both chambers in the Statehouse with unanimous approval. Sen. Randy Head, a former deputy prosecutor, sponsored the measure in the Indiana Senate.

“I think it’s a great bill,” the Logansport Republican said. “It’s not an idea whose time has come; it’s past due.”

Initially, Head said, some real estate agents did not like the bill, but once provisions were added that enabled decontaminated homes to be removed from the database, the organization was supportive. Also, as a concession to landlords, apartments that have been sites of meth labs are not identified by the address of the entire apartment complex.

The Indiana Association of Realtors described this bill as a positive step forward both because it provides greater awareness and it protects real estate agents by identifying property that could be contaminated, according to Maggie McShane, senior vice president of government affairs at the association.

The association supports disclosure of former meth labs, McShane said, but it also considers delisting cleaned homes from the database to be very important. Properties should not be blackballed once they are certified clean.

“I think this bill is a good first step in regards to real estate industry in what we do to address awareness to meth contamination and to ensure that Realtors are protected when they go onto a property,” McShane said.

The idea of creating and putting such a listing online for the public is not new. Originally, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute was tasked with establishing the database but, according to McNamara, the funding never came and the index was never built.

For several years, state police have been maintaining a database of lab sites for internal use, according to Crawford. With this bill, the state police will fortify the listing, which goes as far back as 2007, with reports from health departments, fire departments and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Also, while decontaminated homes and apartments will be taken off the database, the ISP’s website will have a link to those properties’ cleanup reports kept by IDEM. Potential homebuyers will be able to access information about the remediation of the residences.

“We didn’t want the public to get confused by the contaminated versus decontaminated property,” McNamara said. The cleaned domiciles were “taken off (the ISP database) for economic reasons as well as confusion reasons.”

McNamara explained that the database would help neighborhoods economically by preventing houses that were once meth labs from becoming sources of blight. Instead, families and individuals will have the confidence to buy these houses, knowing they have been treated by certified professionals and are no longer a health hazard.

State police are taking another step toward making the database a “one-stop shop” for consumers by also including a listing of VIN numbers from vehicles that were once mobile meth labs. Buyers of used cars will be able to check if their vehicle has encountered meth.

During the 2013 legislative session, Sen. Joe Zakas, R-Granger, was successful in getting his methamphetamine vehicle information disclosure bill passed and signed by the governor. This measure required dealers and sellers to tell the buyer if meth had been manufactured in the vehicle within the previous two years.

The state police are currently working with the Indiana Office of Technology to get the database online.

“This is a good thing for the public,” Crawford said. “We’re anxious to get this thing up and running.”•

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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