This is the sixth weekly installment of the Legislative Update for the 2012 legislative session. Below are the summaries of bills of interest to the judiciary heard this week in committee.
If you are interested in reading the text of any bill introduced this session, you may find the bill information at: http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo.
The Senate Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters Committee heard HB 1015, on cemetery access, sponsored by Sen. Bray, and Sen. R. Young. This bill provides immunity from civil liability to landowners who grant a decedent’s family members or invitees access to cemeteries that are located on the landowners’ properties and subject to property tax assessment as cemetery lands. It also provides immunity from civil liability to persons who guide family members or invitees to those cemeteries. Additionally, this bill provides that a family member is allowed access to those cemeteries at least 3 days a year. A technical amendment was taken by consent. The Indiana Trial Lawyers Association testified that it has worked with the authors on the language of this bill, but has concerns about blanket immunity. Indiana Farm Bureau testified in support of the bill. The bill passed as amended 8-0.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 114 on driving while suspended sponsored by Rep. Steuerwald. This bill makes a technical correction concerning calculating the ten-year recidivism period under the driving while suspended statute. The bill passed with a vote of 11-0.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 154 regarding operating a motorboat while intoxicated sponsored by Rep. Koch, Rep. Welch, and Rep. Ubelhor. This bill makes operating a motorboat while having a schedule I or II controlled substance in the person’s body a Class C misdemeanor. This bill also transfers the crime of operating a motorboat while intoxicated from the natural resources code to the criminal code. The bill passed with a vote of 11-0.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 274 on immunity for certain alcohol offenses sponsored by Rep. McMillin and Rep. Truitt. This bill prohibits a law enforcement officer from taking a person into custody for a crime of public intoxication or minor possession, consumption, or transportation of an alcoholic beverage if the officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circumstances, reasonably believes that: (1) the officer has contact with the person because the person requested emergency medical assistance, or acted in concert with another person who requested emergency medical assistance, for an individual who reasonably appeared in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption; and (2) the person meets other requirements. It also specifies that the person may not bring an action against a law enforcement officer who takes a person into custody after requesting emergency assistance. Additionally, this bill provides that a person meeting these conditions is immune from criminal prosecution for public intoxication or minor possession, consumption, or transportation of an alcoholic beverage. Testimony was heard in support from the Attorney General’s Office, students of Indiana University and Purdue University, and the Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking. The bill passed 11-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1065 on military custody and parenting time matters sponsored by Sen. Waterman and Sen. Tomes. If the military duties of a parent have a material effect on the parent’s ability to appear in person at a regularly scheduled hearing concerning custody or parenting time, this bill requires a court, upon motion by a parent who has received temporary military duty, deployment, or mobilization orders to hold, upon good cause shown, an expedited hearing in determining or modifying custody or parenting time. This bill allows, with reasonable notice and good cause shown, a parent to present testimony and evidence by certain electronic means in a custody or parenting time proceeding. This bill also allows a court, upon motion by a parent who has received military deployment orders, to delegate the parent’s parenting time, or a part of the parent’s parenting time, during the time that the parent is deployed to a person who has a close and substantial relationship with the parent’s child if the court determines delegating the time is in the best interests of the child. This bill provides that an order delegating parenting time automatically terminates after the parent returns from deployment, and allows the court to terminate an order delegating parenting time if the court determines that the delegated parenting time is no longer in the best interests of the child. The bill was amended in committee to delete throughout the bill the phrase/requirement “and for good cause shown” for a hearing. Testimony was heard in support by the Indiana State Bar Association. The bill was passed as amended 9-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1092 sponsored by Sen. Bray adding a fourth Johnson Superior Court judge. Judge Mark Loyd of Johnson County Circuit Court testified in support of the bill. The bill passed with a vote of 9-0 and was recommitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1009, a technical corrections bill, sponsored by Sen. M. Young, Sen. Banks, Sen. Taylor, and Sen. Arnold. This bill resolves technical conflicts between differing 2011 amendments to Indiana Code sections, and other technical problems in the Indiana Code, including incorrect statutory references, nonstandard tabulation, grammatical problems, and misspellings. The bill passed with a vote of 9-0.
The House Roads and Transportation Committee heard SB 257 concerning motor vehicle law sponsored by Rep. Soliday and Rep. DeLaney. Author Sen. Arnold introduced the bill, and Elizabeth Murphy from BMV provided an overview of the bill provisions. The bill was described as a technical corrections bill that removes out-dated language, establishes consistency across the motor vehicle statutes, and codifies current BMV practices. The bill also establishes the renewal schedule for operator’s licenses with a 2012 expiration date. Rep. Soliday offered two amendments that were adopted by consent. The first amendment removes all references to the specialty license plates from the bill and the second amendment addresses deficiencies in the scrap vehicles language. The amended bill passed 13-0.