ILNews

Statehouse says yes to meth house database

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
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.”•

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

  3. My situation was hopeless me and my husband was on the verge of divorce. I was in a awful state and felt that I was not able to cope with life any longer. I found out about this great spell caster drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail.com and tried him. Well, he did return and now we are doing well again, more than ever before. Thank you so much Drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail.comi will forever be grateful to you Drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail.com

  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  5. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

ADVERTISEMENT