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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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  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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