Civil filing fee extension going to governor

The bill extending the $1 surcharge on civil legal filings is headed to the governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 42, authored by Sen. Ronald Grooms, passed the House of Representatives Tuesday. The measure sailed through the Senate and House, passing with no opposition and deterring potential amendments.

If Gov. Eric Holcomb signs the legislation, the $1 charge will continue to be added to civil legal filings until July 1, 2022.

Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, introduced the original legislation in 2012, which instituted the additional $1 to the cost of filing civil actions. The purpose was to support pro bono legal services during a time when the revenue from the traditional source of funding, the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts, had fallen dramatically because of the 2008 economic recession.

Language in the law had called for the extra charge to sunset July 1, 2017. However, interest rates have been slow to recover and the return from IOLTA remains anemic. So, at the request of the Indiana Bar Foundation, which administers the IOLTA funds, Grooms filed SB 42 to extend the fee for another five years.    

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