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Unified courts, judicial nomination bills move

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Several bills of impact on the courts saw action this week before the Indiana General Assembly shut down for two days after a winter storm hit the state.

Senate Bill 91, which establishes a unified Circuit Court in Henry and Madison counties; and SB 499, which would change the selection of Lake Superior judges from election to nomination, passed second readings Monday.

SB 169, which deals with probate, trusts, and transfer on death transfers, was placed back on second reading Jan. 27 and reread and passed with amendments on Monday.

House Bill 1153, which deals with problem-solving courts, was passed 98-0 by the full House of Representatives Monday. The House judiciary committee also passed HB 1548, which recognizes foreign country money judgments. Also on Monday, the Committee on Local Government amended and passed HB 1311, which deals with changes to planning and zoning law. One part of that bill eliminates review of zoning decisions by certiorari and establishes a judicial review procedure.

Senate Bill 97 passed out of the judiciary committee Jan. 27 with amendments. The bill establishes a procedure for a company to provide a loan to a plaintiff in an action in exchange for the contingent right to receive a part of the potential proceeds of the action. Also on Jan. 27, the committee passed SB 301, which would increase the automated record keeping fee a court clerk can charge with the extra money going to the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee to pay for Odyssey, the statewide case management system. The committee reassigned the bill to the Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy.

Because the weather shut down the General Assembly for two days, committee hearings were postponed and are in the process of being rescheduled. As of Indiana Lawyer deadline, the House of Representatives was still working on the new schedule and planned on releasing a new calendar today.

Jennifer Mertz, principal secretary of the Indiana Senate, said in an e-mail that Wednesday morning committees have been authorized to schedule an additional meeting on the morning of Feb. 11. Wednesday afternoon committees may schedule an additional meeting the afternoon of Feb. 11. Tuesday committees are able to schedule an extra meeting after session on Feb. 8 or 10. She said it’s up to each committee chair to determine if they will schedule more bills at their usual committee time next week or hold an additional meeting.

A complete list of bills is available on the legislature’s website.

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