Effective July 1, a fee of $1 for every civil filing will be awarded to the Indiana Bar Foundation to augment funding for its pro bono districts.
The fee is welcome relief for the districts, whose budgets depend on interest on lawyer trust accounts. After reaching a record high in 2009, IOLTA funds have been dwindling.
“We are very pleased that the Indiana General Assembly passed the Pro Bono Filing Fee bill, which is expected to generate approximately $450,000 per year to support Indiana’s statewide pro bono network,” said Charles Dunlap, the foundation’s executive director.
Sens. Ron Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, and Brent Steele, R-Bedford, authored Senate Bill 235, which allowed for the assessment of the fee. But after the bill got stuck in the House Ways and Means Committee, Steele amended House Bill 1049 to include the filing fee provision. Originally, the amendment proposed a sunset date of July 1, 2020. In conference committee, lawmakers agreed to a sunset date of July 1, 2017.
The conference committee report passed the House 73-14 and the Senate 46-3.
“This legislation will enable thousands of low-income Hoosiers to continue to get the free legal help they desperately need,” Dunlap said. “We especially want to thank Sens. Ron Grooms and Brent Steele for authoring the filing fee bill and Sens. Bray and Long for all of their efforts in getting this extremely important piece of legislation passed.”
Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, is president pro tempore of the Senate, and Sen. Richard Bray, R-Martinsville, has been a lawmaker since 1974 – first in the House, and in the Senate since 1992.