The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 235 on pro bono legal services fee sponsored by Rep. Stemler, Rep. Davisson, and Rep. Koch. This bill imposes a pro bono legal services fee of $1 on parties who file certain civil actions, small claims actions, and probate actions until July 1, 2020. It requires the pro bono legal services fees to be transferred to the Indiana Bar Foundation. The State Board of Accounts can audit the Indiana Bar Foundation’s handling and expenditure of the pro bono legal services fees. The Indiana Bar Foundation testified in support. The bill passed with a vote of 12-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1049 regarding problem solving courts, courts, and inspector general matters sponsored by Sen. Bray, Sen. Steele and Sen. Lanane. Author Rep. Koch introduced the bill. The Honorable John Surbeck of the Allen Superior Court testified in support of the problem-solving court provisions in the bill. Christine Kerl, Assistant Deputy Chief Probation Officer with the Marion Superior Court Probation Department, testified in support of the proposed amendment to the court alcohol and drug program statutes. Dhiann Kinsworthy representing the Office of the Inspector General testified in support of the inspector general provisions of the bill. Jane Seigel, Executive Director of the Indiana Judicial Center, testified in opposition to the language in the bill expanding the jurisdiction of the Wabash City Court. The Committee amended the bill to remove the language pertaining to the Wabash City Court. The amended bill passed 9-0.
The Senate Appropriations Committee heard HB 1092 sponsored by Sen. Bray adding a fourth Johnson superior court judge. An amendment was taken by consent that states that the additional judge will be added contingent on whether facilities are available for the judge to occupy. The bill passed with a vote of 10-0.
The Senate Judiciary heard HB 1273 regarding an administrative law judge study sponsored by Sen. Bray and Sen. C. Lawson. Sen. Bray introduced an amendment to urge the legislative council to study, during the 2012 legislative interim, the topic of creating a centralized department of administrative law judges within the office of the attorney general. The amended bill passed 7-0.