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Committees hit deadline for first half of session

January 29, 2010

During the final week of committee hearings before the Indiana General Assembly reaches its midpoint, the legal community watched as many bills died in their current form for lack of a hearing while others remained in play and moved to the full House or Senate for a potential vote.

The House Judiciary met twice this week because the number of bills was too much for one morning. Passing through committee to the full House were bills involving Marion County commissioners to be converted into magistrates; an expansion of the statutory framework for problem-solving courts, and one making it so that any non-attorney practicing law would have committed Class C felony illegal racketeering.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code passed by a 7-5 party-line vote HB 1335, which involves a right of publicity. The legislation specifically calls for a right to be recognized regardless of that person's domicile at the time of death and the law in effect at that time. This issue has surfaced on several occasions in recent years within Indiana's and other jurisdictions' federal courts.

In the Senate, the Judiciary Committee met for its final time Wednesday and forwarded several bills to all senators for consideration: allowing magistrates to serve as senior judges along with judges and justices; allowing the Floyd County courts to split jurisdiction on its cases; constitutional amendment explanations through the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency; and allowing the Indiana Attorney General's Office to be notified any time there's a challenge to a statute's constitutionality and also that it be able to automatically enter an appearance as an amicus curiae party without seeking the court's leave to do so.

For both the House and Senate, Feb. 3 is the latest they have to vote on bills if they are to survive and move to the other house for consideration.

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