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Friday, August 24, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - "Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard OKs domestic partner benefits"

Updating this ILB entry from June 3rd, today Jon Murray reports in the Indianapolis Star:

After wavering on the issue for weeks, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard signed off Thursday on an ordinance providing domestic partner benefits for city and county workers.

The mayor overcame his discomfort with the inclusion of employees’ unmarried opposite-sex partners — who, as Ballard had pointed out, already have the option of marrying.

His approval ushers in a policy change sought for years by some council members from both parties and by gay-rights advocates. * * *

Domestic partner benefits will take effect Jan. 1. Employees with unmarried partners who meet the law’s requirements can sign up for coverage during this fall’s enrollment period for municipal workers, [mayoral spokesman Marc Lotter] said. * * *

Besides the restriction on partners who can obtain insurance through their jobs, employees face another consideration. Unlike for married couples, benefits provided for domestic partners are taxable as income.

At Ballard’s request, the council beefed up the ordinance’s safeguards against fraud by allowing the city to require documents proving a couple meets the requirements.

Barth predicted that the positive message sent by the ordinance would reverberate outside City Hall “and will help our big companies in recruiting employees.” * * *

Indianapolis is among the last large Midwest cities to adopt a domestic partner benefits policy, following cities including Chicago, Louisville, Ky., Milwaukee, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Toledo and Cincinnati adopted measures earlier this year.

From the Star sidebar:
Requirements: Both the employee and the partner must be unmarried adults “who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring.” They must have shared a primary residence for at least a year and share responsibility for basic living expenses. To be eligible, a partner generally cannot be able to obtain health insurance through his or her employment.

Safeguards: The employee and partner must sign a form verifying they meet the requirements, under penalty of perjury. The city’s human resources office may require that they provide three documents as evidence of the partnership. Options include papers showing joint property or vehicle ownership, a tenant lease, utility bills, bank or credit card statements, a will or trust designating the partner as a beneficiary, and driver’s licenses listing the same address.

Here is the actual document, Proposal #213.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 24, 2012 08:28 AM
Posted to Indiana Government