Gov. Mike Pence signed Senate Enrolled Act 125 Tuesday which creates a commission that will study issues and take actions relating to children in Indiana.
The Commission on Improving Status of Children will also work with other entities on issues concerning vulnerable youth as well as review legislation. The new law also establishes a Child Services Oversight Committee that will review data reports from the Department of Child Services and reports from the DCS ombudsman and make recommendations to the commission on improving the delivery of child protection services.
Local child fatality review teams will be placed in each county and a statewide fatality review committee will look at data on the local level and assist the local review teams.
The introduced version of the bill was prepared by the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee. This committee has been abolished under the new law.
Pence has until May 7 to sign or veto dozens of bills, including HEA 1057 on the prosecuting attorneys retirement fund, HEA 224 and 225, which deal with the duties and appointment of delegates to an Article V convention, and HEA 1482 on expungement. If made law, HEA 1482 allows a court to expunge records concerning misdemeanor and minor Class D felony convictions under certain circumstances, and gives judges discretion regarding other convictions. The law would also change the wording asking about criminal backgrounds to language such as “Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime that has not been expunged by a court?”