Indiana General Assembly back in session

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The Indiana General Assembly reconvened today with property tax issues consuming much of the focus of the 2008 short session. Also receiving much attention are issues regarding sex offenders, education, and the environment.

Another bill of interest to the legal community is House Bill 1045, which introduces a courthouse preservation advisory commission and courthouse preservation fund, and requires the commission to provide assistance for courthouse related projects.

Grandparent visitation rights are dealt with in Senate Bill 48, which allows for a child’s grandparent to seek visitation rights when the parent or guardian of the child unreasonably refuses or restricts visitation.

In SB 11, police officers will not have to be in uniform or drive a marked police car when making an arrest, or issuing a traffic information and summons to a person for a violating the law regarding the use and operation of a motor vehicle.

Two high-profile issues that took center stage last year are still up for debate in this session.

Daylight-saving time has been a polarizing issue in some parts of the state, and three bills have been introduced this session: SB 34, HB 1038, and HB 1047. The Senate bill wants to require the governor to petition the U.S. Department of Transportation to initiate proceedings under the Uniform Time Act to put all of Indiana in the Central time zone.

The House bills want to require public questions having to do with time zones and boundaries be placed on 2008 ballots.

The debate about the definition of marriage is up again this session in Senate Joint Resolution 7. The bill looks to define marriage as between a man and woman and that Indiana law can’t be interpreted to require martial status or legal incidents of marriage be given to unmarried couples or groups.

Each legislative session isn’t without its strange bills. This session, legislators have introduced bills regarding public use of toilets, hunting and fishing rights, and truth in music advertising.

Senate Bill 191 requires retail establishments, with the exception of certain gas stations, to make employee restrooms available to the public if no other restrooms are readily available.

House Joint Resolution 3 is hoping to make it a constitutional right to hunt and fish in Indiana. The bill states people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest game subject to existing laws and rules prescribed by the authority of the Indiana General Assembly.

SB 192 will make it a Class A infraction if a person advertising or conducting a live musical performance or production by falsely, deceptively, or misleadingly implying that there is an affiliation between a performing group and a recording group. In this bill, the performing group is defined as a group seeking to use the name of another group that has previously released a commercial sound recording under the name of that other group; a recording group is defined as a group, with at least one of its members that has released a commercial sound recording under the group’s name, and the group has the legal right to operate under the group name.

You can read about the progress of these bills and all others filed this session in upcoming issues of Indiana Lawyer.

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