Legislation increasing the service of process fee moves to the House

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The Indiana Senate Thursday endorsed an increase in the fees sheriffs collect to serve court papers. The fee will nearly double from $13 to $25 under legislation sent to the House of Representatives.

Senators voted 41-8 in favor of Senate Bill 217 authored by Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville. Boots noted the bill also would allow clerks to charge a second fee for post-judgment service. Some senators expressed concern, however, that the legislation was unclear on whether parties in family law disputes seeking modification of orders, for instance, might be subject to the fee.

Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend, said he believes the Judiciary Committee tried to draw a distinction between debt-collection and domestic cases when applying the fee a second time on post-judgment service.

Supporters of the bill say it will stabilize pension funds for sheriff’s departments around the state, some of which have unfunded liabilities that otherwise would fall to taxpayers. The fee also supports the cost of serving notice to court litigants.

“I certainly don’t think $25 is exorbitant when you stop and think that states around us are charging $60,” said Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, who voted for the bill.

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