This is the seventh weekly installment of the Legislative Update for the 2015 legislative session. If you are interested in reading the text of any bill introduced this session, you may find all of the bill information here.
This week the Senate and House committees heard the following bills of interest to the judiciary:[Permalink]
The Senate Civil Law Committee heard Sen. Merritt’s SB 411 on liability of a real estate licensee. This bill provides that a licensed real estate broker is not liable for certain real estate related reports, statements, or information except in certain circumstances. This bill also adds a reference to the list of statutes that grant immunity from civil liability. A representative of the Indiana Association of Realtors testified in support of the bill. The bill passed 9-0.
The House Judiciary heard HB 1043 concerning medical malpractice caps, authored by Rep. Torr. This bill increases the medical malpractice cap from $1,250,000 to $1,650,000 for claims arising after June 30, 2015. The bill also increases the maximum amount of liability for a health care provider or a health care provider’s insurer from $250,000 to $300,000. Rep. Torr introduced an amendment providing that payments from the patient’s compensation fund are to be disbursed not later than 60 days after the issuance of a final, non-appealable judgment (as opposed to quarterly, as originally in the bill). Another amendment was also introduced increasing the pay for medical review panel members from $350 to $500, and also increasing the potential pay for the medical review panel chairperson from $2,000 to $2,500. It also adjusted the liability provisions so that the maximum potential liability of a qualified health care provider for an occurrence of malpractice increases from $250,000 to: (1) $300,000; or (2) $400,000 if the action against the health care provider results in a final judgment in favor of the plaintiff. The amendment additionally eliminates provisions under which the liability of a qualified health care provider or the qualified healthcare provider’s insurer could be discharged through a periodic payments agreement under which the cost borne by the qualified healthcare provider or the qualified health care provider’s insurer (consisting of the present payment and the cost of future payments) could be less than the cost of discharging the liability solely through an immediate payment. After both amendments were introduced, testimony was received against the amendments from the general counsel of the Indiana Department of Insurance; the general counsel of the Indiana State Medical Association; the President of the Indiana State Medical Association; a representative of the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists; a representative of the Indiana Osteopathic Association; and, a representative of the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers. Testimony in support of the bill was received by Indiana Hospital Association and neutral support was noted by representatives of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Health Care Association. The amendments were adopted by consent and the bill passed 9-2.
The House Judiciary heard HB 1145 concerning civil immunity for volunteer health care providers, authored and presented by Rep. Frizzell. The bill provides civil immunity for volunteer health providers – defined as dentists, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, or an advanced nurse practitioner, who provide non-invasive health procedures. The bill also requires the professional licensing agency to establish and maintain a registry to approve locations where volunteer health care services may be provided, and a health care volunteer registry. An amendment was introduced specifying that immunity would not apply to a healthcare facility that receives federal funding. The amendment was adopted by consent. Testimony in support of the bill was received by a representative of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition; a senior advisor from Governor Pence’s Administration; a physician representing Riley Children’s Hospital and Timmy Global Health; and a physician from St. Francis Hospital. The amended bill passed 10-0.
The House Judiciary heard HB 1161 concerning immunity for damage caused rescuing a child, authored and presented by Rep. GiaQuinta. The bill provides that if a child is in imminent danger of harm, a person who forcibly enters a locked motor vehicle for the purpose of rescuing the child is granted civil immunity. The bill does not extend civil immunity to acts involving gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct. An amendment, adopted by consent, removes written notice requirements to the owner of the vehicle. The amended bill passed 11-0.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1405, authored by Rep. Slager and Rep. Fine, providing concurrent jurisdiction of the attorney general with a prosecuting attorney for certain actions in which a public officer or public servant is accused. The bill was amended to limit the bill’s application to civil actions. The amended bill passed 8-1.[Permalink]
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SR 3 urging the study of raising the age of consent from 16 to 18. The resolution was presented by Sen. Steele and a member of the public testified in support of the resolution. The resolution passed 8-2.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 93 concerning synthetic drugs authored and presented by Sen. Merritt. This bill is in response to a Court of Appeals case finding the current statute vague. The bill requires the Indiana Administrative Code publish a list of substances declared by the Board of Pharmacy to be synthetic drugs in a specific location, and requires the Board of Pharmacy to include a link to that provision of the Indiana Administrative Code on its Internet web site. An amendment was taken by consent listing the expiration date of the rules and also adding a provision on the expiration of emergency rules under this statute. The amended bill passed 7-0.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 242 regarding motor vehicle title fraud authored by Sen. Young. This bill establishes the crime of motor vehicle title fraud, a level 6 felony. The bill is intended to rectify a gap in current law that allows an individual who is otherwise prohibited from registering a motor vehicle to form a business entity for the sole purpose of registering a motor vehicle. Representatives from the Secretary of the State’s office testified in support of the bill. The bill passed 8-1.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 287 on expungement. Author Sen. Young introduced the bill explaining that the expungement statute has been in place for three years and additional adjustments to the law are needed. The bill:
(1) authorizes the expungement of charges when an arrest did not occur and allegations of juvenile delinquency;
(2) clarifies that if the prosecutor fails to timely respond within 30 days to the petition, any objection to the petition is waived;
(3) authorizes the expungement of pre-1977 convictions;
(4) resolves a conflict between federal and state law by clarifying that expungement does not restore the right to possesses a firearm otherwise prohibited under federal law;
(5) specifies that the records of expungement proceedings become confidential when the court grants the expungement petition;
(6) specifies that there is no filing fee for expungement petitions;
(7) specifies additional petition requirements; and
(8) specifies requirements for redacting or sealing expunged information.
The Clerks Association testified expressing concern about the burden of processing expungement petitions without a filing fee. The bill passed 5-2.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 385 pertaining to murder sentencing; aggravating circumstance. Author Sen. Hershman introduced the bill explaining that this proposal is a response to the Purdue University shooting last year. The bill creates an aggravating factor to murder if the murder is committed on property owned or rented by an educational institution. An amendment, adopted by Committee consent, expanded the scope of this bill to include murders committed in a building used primarily for religious worship. The Tippecanoe County Prosecutor testified in support of the bill. The Indiana Catholic Conference testified in opposition to the bill, reiterating its opposition to the death penalty. The Indiana Public Defenders Council testified to concerns about the vagueness of the amendment language. The amended bill passed 7-2.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 396 on child exploitation. Author Sen. Houchin stated that the decreases in the penalty provisions for child exploitation as a result of the criminal code revision were an oversight. An amendment was adopted removing the second level penalty increases in the bill. The amended bill raises the penalty for possession of child pornography from a level 6 felony to a level 5 felony, and the penalty for dissemination child pornography from a level 5 felony to a level 4 felony. The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council testified in support of the bill, stating that the criminal code revisions in effect lowered the penalty for possession of child pornography. The Indiana Public Defenders Council testified in opposition to the bill and encouraged the Committee to allow the current law time to work. The bill was held.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 536 authored by Sen. Young and Sen. Yoder on methamphetamine. The bill heard by the Committee combined two previously adopted amendments establishing reporting requirements for the purchase of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. The bill:
(1) requires courts to report drug related convictions to the State Police;
(2) requires the State Police to report drug related felonies to NPLEx for the purposes of controlling purchases by convicted drug felons;
(3) prohibits any convicted felony drug offender from purchasing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine for seven years without a prescription;
(4) requires the State Police to report the number of Methamphetamine labs discovered in calendar year 2019; and
(5) provides that if the number of methamphetamine laboratories discovered is greater than 400: (a) ephedrine and pseudoephedrine become Schedule IV controlled substances from 2020 until 2023; and (b) reporting requirements relating to the purchase of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, as well as certain provisions relating to retail sale, are suspended from 2020 to 2023.
A technical amendment was adopted by consent. The amended bill passed 7-1.
The Senate Appropriations Committee heard SB 536, authored by Sen. Young and Sen. Yoder, on methamphetamine. The bill provides that anyone convicted of a drug-related felony must get a prescription for pseudoephedrine or ephedrine for seven years after conviction. If methamphetamine labs are not reduced by this provision, then in 2020 a universal prescription for pseudoephedrine or ephedrine goes into effect. A representative of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association testified in opposition to the prescription only provision. The bill passed 7-6.
The House Ways and Means Committee heard Rep. Steuerwald’s HB 1006 on criminal justice funding. The Committee amended the bill by consent to reduce the first-year appropriation to $30 million, to move the appropriations to the Judicial Center’s budget, and to define treatment for addiction. The bill passed as amended, 18-0.
The House Public Health Committee heard HB 1269 concerning mental health matters, authored by Rep. Clere. As reported previously, this bill addresses several mental health issues including:
(1) authorizing the DOC or jail to serve as a representative of inmates for the purposes of applying for Medicaid eligibility;
(2) requiring the DOC or jail to assist inmates apply for Medicaid prior to release from incarceration;
(3) requiring a person who is arrested and taken into custody to be assessed by a qualified and licensed mental health or addictions professional to determine if the person has a mental illness or substance addiction, establishing required reporting of assessment results and providing for re-assessments until release; and,
(4) appropriating $22,000,000 to the forensic diversion account on an annual basis and providing that this account is established to fund the custodial assessments following arrest.
This week, an amendment was introduced requiring accident and health insurance coverage to be equal for telemedicine services as they are for in-person delivered health care services. The amendment also makes inmates on work release or other DOC programming involving alternative sentencing eligible for Medicaid, subject to federal approval. Additionally, it establishes annual reporting requirements for the Office of Medicaid policy and planning to report on the use of qualified providers to undertake presumptive eligibility services determinations. Testimony was heard in favor of the amendment from the Director of Indiana Medicaid, a representative of the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers, a representative from IU Health, and a representative from a private health services provider. The amendment was adopted by consent, and the bill passed 12-0.[Permalink]
The Senate Civil Law Committee heard Sen. Pete Miller’s SB 109 about support for educational needs of a child who is at least 19-years old. A representative from the Family and Juvenile Law Section of the Indiana State Bar Association testified against the bill. The committee stripped the bill and inserted language urging the Legislative Council to assign the concept to a 2015 interim committee. The amended bill passed 10-0.[Permalink]
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SJR 15 concerning selection of justices and appellate court judges authored and presented by Sen. M. Young. The resolution provides that one commission member is selected by attorneys licensed in Indiana, one commission member is appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and one commission member is appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The bill requires that at least one commission member appointed by the Governor must be an attorney and prohibits a person who is a lobbyist from serving on the commission. It also provides for the Governor to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals from nominees recommended by the commission, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The legislation provides that a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the Court of Appeals serves until July 1 of the tenth year after the justice’s or judge’s appointment is confirmed by the Senate or the justice’s or judge’s retention in office is confirmed by the House of Representatives. It provides that if a justice or judge wants to serve a new term, the justice or judge must apply to the House of Representatives for retention. The bill specifies that a judge or justice will be retained, unless: (1) the judge or justice does not apply to the House of Representatives for retention; or (2) at least 60% of the members of the House of Representatives vote against retention. It also amends the provisions concerning impeachment proceedings for a justice or judge and provides a transition for justices and judges serving at the time of the adoption of these amendments to the constitution. The resolution was amended to provide that out of state felony convictions would result in a loss of office. Testimony was presented in opposition to the resolution from Judge Robert Freese, representing the Indiana Judges Association; current and former Judicial Nominating Commission members; John Trimble, President of the Indianapolis Bar Association and representing the Indiana State Bar Association Improvement of the Judiciary Committee; Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana; and the Indiana Public Defender Council. The amended resolution was defeated 4-6.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 58 concerning Pulaski superior court and Sullivan magistrate authored and presented by Sen. Steele. The bill would eliminate the power to appoint a magistrate in Sullivan County effective July 1, 2015, and would eliminate the Pulaski Superior Court on December 31, 2018. After describing the process for requesting new judicial resources and the role of the weighted caseload system, Sen. Steele indicated the weighted caseload information shows these counties with underutilized judicial resources and weighted caseload information should also be used to eliminate unneeded resources and would allow the fiscal resources to be redirected to those counties with greater need. Supporting testimony was received from the Republican County Chairman for Sullivan Co. Opposing testimony was received from Judge Robert Hunley, Sullivan Circuit Court, Judge Hugh Hunt, Sullivan Superior Court, Judge Patrick Blankenship, Pulaski Superior Court, a Pulaski County Prosecutor, and the Pulaski County Bar Association President. Those testifying in opposition encouraged the Committee to take more time to study the issues, and allow the courts to work within their judicial district to help alleviate need in other courts that are in need of judicial resources. After committee discussion, the bill as introduced was voted on, but did not pass for a lack of a majority vote. The Committee then took a verbal amendment, by consent, to maintain the language for Sullivan County and send the issue involving Pulaski County to a study committee. The amended bill passed 10-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee also heard SB 71 concerning St. Joseph County magistrates authored and presented by Sen. Zakas. He reported that this bill would not be heard in Appropriations, but the other provisions in the bill were still necessary. The amendments adopted by consent would provide that the probate court cannot consider political affiliation in appointing magistrates and provides that the chair for the local nominating commission is the chief judge of the superior court in place of the Chief Justice’s appointment of the commission chair. The bill passed as amended 7-1.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 99 concerning jury service review authored and presented by Sen. Zakas. An amendment to the bill was adopted to provide that if a nursing mother is denied a deferral then she can request a review by the trial judge and provide additional information for consideration of the request. After receiving supporting testimony and committee discussion, the bill passed 9-0.
The Senate Appropriations Committee heard Sen. Bray’s SB 507 on attorney and judicial discipline complaints. Despite the title, this bill does not mention judicial discipline complaints. This bill permits a prosecuting attorney and a county public defender to seek reimbursement from the state for reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in defending against a charge of attorney misconduct if the alleged misconduct relates to the person’s official duties or status as a prosecuting attorney or public defender, the charge of misconduct does not result in a sanction (except for a private reprimand), and the attorney general approves the reimbursement. The bill was amended to define public defender as someone who is salaried as a public defender. The amended bill passed 11-0.
The House Ways and Means Committee heard HB 1110, authored by Rep. Stemler and Rep. Steuerwald, originally allowing appointment of a third Clark circuit court magistrate. The bill was amended to allow the judge of the Vanderburgh circuit court to appoint a second full-time magistrate and to allow the judge of the Greene circuit court and the judge of the Greene superior court to jointly appoint one full-time magistrate. It also allows a magistrate to approve and accept criminal plea agreements, approve agreed settlements concerning civil matters, and approve decrees of dissolution, settlement agreements, and any other agreements of the parties in domestic relations actions or paternity actions. It also allows the judges of the Marion superior court to appoint four additional full-time magistrates after December 31, 2015. The amended bill passed 15-0.
The House Ways and Means Committee heard Rep. Steuerwald’s HB 1425 on court fees (automated record keeping fee and document storage fee). The Committee amended the bill by consent to reinstate the homeowner protection unit account for deposit of automated record keeping fees from Marion County Small Claims Courts. The bill passed as amended, 14-[Permalink]
The Senate Civil Law Committee heard Sen. Holdman’s SB 65 on claim deadlines. This bill removes provisions barring certain claims filed against a decedent’s estate more than nine months after the date of the decedent’s death. The amendment, adopted by consent, changes the deadline to either nine months or after two months have passed from the date notice is given to the creditor, whichever is later. The amended bill passed 8-1.
The Senate Civil Law Committee heard Sen. Steele’s SB 355 on various probate and trust matters. This bill provides that a trust may incorporate by reference a document that exists at the time the trust is executed. It also specifies that funeral expenses and expenses of a tombstone are expenses of administration. The bill expands the definition of “person” under the probate code to include governmental entities and other legal entities. The legislation also provides that a nonprobate transfer to a testamentary trust is valid upon the will being admitted to probate, and is not subject to claims against the probate estate. It also allows a governmental entity or business entity (in addition to an individual) to be a transfer on death beneficiary of an automobile or a watercraft. It allows a governmental entity or business entity (in addition to an individual) to be appointed a health care representative. The bill amends the order of priority of persons who may control the disposition of a decedent’s body. It provides that a power of attorney may delegate the authority of a parent or guardian with respect to the health care of a minor or protected person. The bill was amended clarify who is able to make funeral arrangements. A representative from the Indiana Funeral Directors Association testified in favor of the amendment, which removes uncertainty about who is authorized to take care of funeral arrangements. A representative from the Probate, Trust, & Property Section of the Indiana State Bar Association testified in favor of the bill. The amended bill passed 8-0.[Permalink]
This is the sixth weekly installment of the Legislative Update for the 2015 legislative session. If you are interested in reading the text of any bill introduced this session, you may find all of the bill information here.
This week the Senate and House committees heard the following bills of interest to the judiciary:[Permalink]
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. Tomes’ SB 98 on lawsuits against gun manufacturers. This bill prohibits a person from bringing or maintaining certain actions against a firearms manufacturer, ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or seller, and makes the prohibition retroactive. After receiving testimony, the bill passed 7-1.
The Senate Civil Law Committee heard Sen. Bray’s SB 172, enacting the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act. This bill governs the ability of a creditor to nullify certain transfers made by a debtor. The Committee adopted an amendment that does not change the effect of the bill, but amends current law instead of adding a new section of law. A representative of the Uniform Law Commission testified in favor of the bill. The amended bill passed 8-0.
The Senate Civil Law Committee heard SB 306, authored by Sen. Bray and Sen. Head, on limited liability arising from trespassing. This bill provides that a person who possesses any fee, reversionary, or easement interest in real property, including an owner, a lessee, or another lawful occupant of real property, does not owe a duty of care to a trespasser, except to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring the trespasser, after the trespasser has been discovered, or an undiscovered trespasser; on the real property possessed by the person. It also provides that a person who possesses real property may be subject to liability for bodily injury to or the death of a trespasser who is a child under certain circumstances. The bill was amended to codify current case law. Representatives from State Farm, Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indiana Apartment Association, Indiana Manufacturers Association, Indiana Railway Association, among others, supported the bill. The amended bill passed 8-0.
The Senate Civil Law Committee heard Sen. Head’s SB 373 on funding of lawsuits. This bill establishes a procedure by which a company may provide funding to the plaintiff in an action in exchange for the contingent right to receive a part of the potential proceeds of the action. It also requires a company that offers funding to plaintiffs to register with the Secretary of State. Representatives from the Oasis Legal Finance and American Legal Finance Association, suppliers of this type of funding, testified in support of the bill. A representative of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform made suggestions to make the bill more stringent. Indiana Chamber of Commerce testified that they would like to see more regulation, but would like the bill to move forward. The bill was amended by consent to exclude civil justice funding from the balloon payment provision. The amended bill passed 8-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. Charbonneau’s SB 394 on reporting of government malfeasance. This bill provides for confidentiality and relief for an individual who reports certain suspected violations of law by public officers. The bill was amended to exempt state employees and state agencies. Representatives of Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, Association of Indiana Counties, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, among others, testified in favor of the bill. The amended bill passed 9-0.
The House Judiciary Committee also heard Rep. Koch’s HB 1102 concerning patent protection. The bill addresses bad faith demand letters asserting claims of patent infringement, commonly known as “patent troll activity”. The bill provides for the Attorney General or private action to address bad faith claim letters, enforcement and remedies, and factors the court should consider in evaluating whether the claim letter is made in bad faith. The bill also provides for a bond to be posted if the court finds a reasonable likelihood that an asserted claim has been made in bad faith in violation of this chapter. An amendment was adopted by consent that would define “end user,” and adds a licensee holding a patent from an approved postsecondary educational institution and additional factors to consider when a claim of patent infringement is not made in bad faith. Representatives from the Indiana Bankers Association, Indiana Builders Association, the Manufacturing Association, and Indiana University testified in support of the legislation. The bill passed 8-1.[Permalink]
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 289, authored by Sen. Arnold and Sen. Steele, on confidential victim services requests. This bill permits, for purposes of the public records law, a law enforcement agency to share certain information with a crime victim advocate without the agency losing the discretion to keep this information confidential from other persons requesting records. Representatives from the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, the Hoosier State Press Association, and the Sheriff of St. Joseph County testified in support of the bill. The bill passed 9-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. Hershman’s SB 388 on seizure and forfeiture of property. The bill was significantly amended from its original provisions and now focuses on collection of data. The bill requires that forfeiture and seizure data, including an itemized list of property seized, estimated value of seized property, and an itemized list of any previously seized property returned to the owner, must be compiled at least once a month. The amended bill passed 7-0.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 522 concerning serious sex offenders, authored by Sens. Mrvan, R. Young, Bray ,and Lanane. The bill defines “serious sex offender” and makes entry on school property by a serious sex offender a Level 6 felony. The bill also provides that a serious sex offender is entitled to vote by mail and requires the department of correction to inform a serious sex offender at the time of discharge from the department: (1) that a serious sex offender who knowingly or intentionally enters school property commits unlawful entry by a serious sex offender, a Level 6 felony; and (2) of voting options for the serious sex offender. The bill was presented by Sen. Mrvan for amendment only, and an amendment was introduced striking the section of the bill of the informing provisions required of the department of corrections, with the understanding that additional amendments would likely need to be made on second reading. The amendment was adopted by consent and the bill passed 10-0.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 532 concerning human trafficking and indecent nuisances authored by Sen. Head and Sen. Houchin. This bill originally provided that 50% of the money collected under the actions for the indecent nuisances law concerning human trafficking would be deposited in the county general fund and credited to a separate account identified as the prosecuting attorney’s human trafficking collections account. This week Sen. Head introduced an amendment deleting those provisions and establishing a human trafficking prevention and victim assistance fund to provide services to human trafficking victims, as well as prevention programs. The amendment further provided that 80% of the monies collected in those actions should be collected in the human trafficking assistance fund, and 20% in the county general fund to be appropriated to the prosecuting attorney to defray costs associated in the collection of the funds and investigating or prosecuting human trafficking. The amendment was adopted by consent and the bill passed 9-0.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard testimony concerning SB 536 addressing methamphetamine related conviction reporting authored by Sens. R. Young, Yoder, and Head. This bill requires courts to report methamphetamine related convictions to the state police department, and requires the police department to report those convictions to the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators so that stop sale alerts may be issued through the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) to prevent individuals with methamphetamine related convictions from purchasing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.
Sen. Steele offered an amendment to the bill similar to SB 445 providing that materials, compounds, mixtures, or preparations that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine would be dispensed only by prescription. Representatives from the Indiana Association of City and Towns, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, the Terre Haute Police Department, the Wabash County Sherriff, the Madison County prosecuting attorney, and the mayor of Terre Haute testified in favor of the bill. Testimony against the amendment was received from a St. Francis hospital physician representing the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians; a physician from the Indiana State Medical Association; a representative from the Indiana Minority Health Coalition; a consumer healthcare products association director; a representative of the Indiana Retail Council; and a local resident of Speedway, Indiana. Sen. Steele’s amendment was held for further discussion.
Sen. Young then introduced testimony on his bill, and introduced an amendment expanding the precursor band tracked in NPLEx. The amendment was adopted by consent, and testimony explaining the bill was received by an NPLEx representative and legal counsel from the Indiana State Police. The Indiana State Medical Association, Indiana State Retail Council, and the Indiana Osteopathic Association testified in favor of this amendment. The amended bill was held for final vote.
The House Judiciary Committee heard Rep. Steuerwald’s HB 1006 on criminal justice funding. The bill creates the Justice Reinvestment Community Grants Program and provides that the Judicial Center shall develop and administer the program. The bill also provides that the Judicial Center shall award grants to assist with the establishment and maintenance of community corrections programs by 2020, to assist communities and counties to develop and maintain alternatives to incarceration that are needed in the applicable community or county, and to reduce recidivism. The bill provides that there is an annual appropriation of $50,000,000 to the program. The bill was amended by consent to provide that:
- DOC shall award grants to community corrections programs and courts may apply for community corrections grants;
- a court may not commit a person convicted of a Level 6 felony to the department of correction after January 1, 2016;
- community corrections collaboration plans must be submitted by January 1, 2016; a justice reinvestment advisory council is established; and
- at least 75% of funding awarded for justice reinvestment community grants must be used to provide evidence-based treatment for mental health and addiction directly to an individual.
Judge Robert Freese, Hendricks Superior Court; the Indiana Sheriffs Association; Jane Seigel, Judicial Center; the Indiana Public Defender Council; the Probation Officers Professional Association of Indiana; the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council; the Allen County Government Affairs; the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force; the Marion County Public Defender’s Office; Mental Health America; and the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers all testified in support of the bill. The amended bill passed 10-0.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1401 regarding Medicaid fraud authored by Rep. Washburne and Rep. Bacon. This bill clarifies current law by including knowingly or intentionally making, uttering, presenting, or causing to be presented to the Medicaid program a Medicaid claim that is false or misleading to the definition of Medicaid fraud. Rep. Washburne introduced an amendment adopted by Committee consent further clarifying the application of the new definition. The Office of the Attorney General testified in support of this bill. An additional amendment was adopted by consent that the Medicaid claim must be “materially” false or misleading to qualify as Medicaid fraud. The amended bill passed 12-0.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1405 authored by Reps. Slager and Fine on the jurisdiction of the attorney general. The bill establishes the concurrent jurisdiction of the attorney general and the prosecuting attorney when public officers and public servants are accused of committing: official misconduct, bribery, ghost employment, conflict of interest, profiteering from public service, interference with the state examiner, failure to follow the state examiner’s directives, and failure to provide an annual report to the state examiner. The State Board of Accounts and the Office of the Attorney General testified in support of the bill. The Prosecuting Attorneys Council testified that changing the current law is unnecessary. The bill was held for further discussion and possible amendment.[Permalink]
The Senate Family and Children Committee heard SB 564, authored by Sen. Zakas and Sen. Grooms, originally on changing the waiting period for dissolution of marriage. The bill was amended by consent of the Committee to assign the topic to an appropriate study committee. The bill passed as amended, 7-1.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1304 on various criminal law issues authored by Reps. McMillin and Steuerwald. Rep. McMillin introduced an amendment incorporating a number of changes to the original legislation. The bill with amendments reads as follows:
- includes the amendment adopted last week permitting the use of Vivitrol for substance abuse, alcohol or opioid abuse treatment;
- includes the amendment adopted last week broadening the definition of runaway to include leaving a specific location designated by a parent, guardian or custodian in addition to leaving home without consent;
- requires the Criminal Justice Institute to collect and analyze data concerning permissive and presumptive juvenile waivers from juvenile courts, in addition to direct file cases;
- amends the forensic diversion program to permit participation by adults with an “autism spectrum disorder” and/or “intellectual disability” both pre and post conviction;
- allows diversion and deferral fees to be used to fund mental health treatment in a prosecutorial diversion program. Permits a prosecutor to require an individual to receive mental health treatment services for any criminal offense (previously limited to felonies);
- permits a court to advise an individual convicted of a criminal offense that the individual may be placed on probation if the individual requests and is accepted for drug or alcohol abuse treatment by DMHA, subject to any mandatory minimum sentence imposed on the individual;
- authorizes individuals to seek voluntary treatment from DMHA for drug abuse and authorizes the involuntary commitment to DMHA of individuals who are alcoholics, incapacitated by alcohol or drug abusers;
- increases the minimum age a child can be charged with murder if committed by an adult and be waived from 10 to 12 years of age;
- increases the minimum age a child shall be waived from 16 to 17 years of age under Ind. Code § 31-30-3-5;
- requires law enforcement agencies to record custodial interrogations of juveniles, except in schools if it would impair the administration of school functions, and prohibits the shackling of juveniles in court unless the court has determined the juvenile is dangerous or potentially dangerous;
- permits a county auditor to seek reimbursement for the expenses of juvenile defense counsel from the Public Defender Commission for 100% of the county’s expenditures;
- repeals a court’s authority to place a repeat runaway or truant in secure detention and removes the authority to hold a runaway 24 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and non-judicial days) before and after a detention hearing;
- permits a problem-solving court to require an individual to receive addiction counseling, inpatient detoxification and medication assisted treatment including Vivitrol as a condition of problem solving court participation;
- authorizes a court to appoint a special advocate to assist persons with intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder who has been charged with a criminal offense;
- permits a person to receive, as a condition of probation or parole, to receive addiction counseling, inpatient detoxification and medication assisted treatment including Vivitrol; and,
- permits a court to suspend a nonsuspendible sentence of a habitual offender during the time the offender is participating in a court approved substance abuse treatment program, and allows the time spent in the program to be deducted from the offender’s additional fixed term of imprisonment if the program is successfully completed.
The amended bill passed 12-0.[Permalink]