On tap: immigration, administrative law judge powers, Indiana's alcoholic beverage laws, and a variety of other legal issues.
The Indiana Legislative Council Thursday created multiple new interim study commissions that will meet this summer. What they recommend helps set the stage for the next session. Legislative leaders will appoint lawmakers to the panels in coming weeks, and most must make recommendations to the General Assembly by Nov. 1.
One of the biggest topics will be a newly created committee to study immigration issues, specifically the financial and economic impact of illegal immigrants, federal limitations, and the potential of e-verification systems.
The Interim Study Committee on Alcoholic Beverages will study the historic origins of Indiana's alcoholic beverage laws and how the 21st Amendment fits into this century. Also to be studied will be whether microbreweries can offer beer for carryout on Sundays.
Lawmakers on the Administrative Rules Oversight Committee will consider whether all commissions created solely to review state agency decisions can be replaced with a type of "office of appeal" staffed by administrative law judges.
The Child Custody and Support Advisory Committee plans to study whether the statute concerning supervised visitation should be amended to cover situations where violence accusations have been made against a non-custodial parent but did not result in charging or conviction.
Topics the Commission on Courts will study include: judicial mandates and alternatives to the current system, the election of Court of Appeals judges and public information about retention votes, the potential creation of a sixth Court of Appeals panel, modernizations of mechanic's liens filing system through an online statewide registry, and whether St. Joseph County judges should be elected or appointed.
The Sentencing Policy Study Committee will study the penalties for salvaged material theft, such as valuable metals and architectural salvage material, and the effectiveness of 2007 legislation on this type of crime.
Certain issues concerning the prosecuting attorneys retirement fund will also be studied by the Pension Management Oversight Commission.
A full list of the interim study committees can be found on the General Assembly's Web site.