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What the ACLU of Indiana is tracking

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This story was published in Capitol Watch, a supplement to Indiana Lawyer daily.

The ACLU of Indiana is keeping an eye on bills that have been introduced this session and is anticipating others that could be introduced, including those that will affect due process, First Amendment rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, Second Amendment rights, and rights based on gender identity and sexual orientation, among other issues covered by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

While only four bills were on their watch list as of Wednesday, Executive Director Gilbert Holmes said he anticipated more would be introduced in the coming days and weeks.

Of the four bills the ACLU of Indiana is watching, it supports three and is monitoring one.

The organization supports HB 1003, contracting of public assistance eligibility. This bill would prohibit various state offices from contracting "with another person to administer or process eligibility intake for specified programs." That bill moved out of committee Tuesday.

The organization also supports two Senate bills, including SB 64, regarding the display of political signs. This bill "prohibits a homeowners association from adopting or enforcing certain restrictive covenants or homeowners association rules concerning the display of political signs." This bill's first reading took place Tuesday, and it was referred to the Committee on Elections.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, the ACLU of Indiana filed a federal suit on behalf of a Plainfield homeowner who was told to take down a political sign because he was displaying the sign outside of the time limits the town implemented. That and two similar cases the ACLU of Indiana filed in 2008 have since been settled. Plainfield, along with Highland and Lebanon, have since dropped their restrictions on political signage as it relates to private homeowners and time limits, as reported in the Jan. 21-Feb. 3, 2009 edition of Indiana Lawyer.

SB 83, public inspection of provisional ballot materials, regards election material related to provisional ballots. The bill's first reading took place Tuesday, and it was referred to the Committee on Elections.

The ACLU of Indiana has closely been involved with lawsuits involving the need for identification at the polls and other voting rights issues in past legislative sessions.

The organization is also monitoring a Senate bill, SB 71 because it relates to reproductive rights. That bill would make it an act of criminal recklessness if someone caused the termination of a pregnancy in the act of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, or through other reckless behavior. The bill's first reading took place Tuesday and it was referred to the Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters.

During the session, the ACLU of Indiana will have a list of bills they are tracking on their Web site and information as to why they are interested in particular bills.

A list of 2009 bills the ACLU of Indiana watched, including voting records of state senators and representatives, is available on their Web site.

An in-depth profile of Holmes, the group's new executive director, and the organization will appear in the Jan. 20-Feb.2 edition of Indiana Lawyer.

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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