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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ind. Law - Survey of status of some legislative issues

Education. "As conference committees start this week, here is where some key education issues sit" writes Niki Kelly in a good rundown of education bills today in the FWJG. Lesley Weidenbener writes in the LCJ: "Differences in Senate-House education proposals could be tough to iron out."

Expungement. "Criminal record expungement bill closer to law" is the heading to Maureen Hayden's CNHI story:

House Bill 1482 passed through the Senate Wednesday on a 39-11 vote and was sent back to the House for approval, because it was amended while in the Senate. On Thursday, the House author said he agreed with the changes made to the bill and would urge the House to follow suit.

The bipartisan-backed legislation allows for the court-ordered expungement of criminal records for mostly long-ago, low-level offenses. It’s been labeled as a “second chance” for ex-offenders whose past mistakes are immovable barriers to employment. * * *

Indiana currently has a criminal records “sealing” law that allows people with arrests or convictions for low-level, nonviolent crimes to get a court order to shield that record from public view after a number of years have passed. But it only applies to certain misdemeanors and some class D felonies.

The expungement bill goes further and covers higher-level felonies as well. There are limits: Most sex and violent crimes are excluded and persons seeking to have their record expunged have to show they’ve stayed out of trouble for a number of years.

Prosecutors would have to sign off on the expungement for some higher-level crimes, and public officials who’ve committed a crime would have to meet a higher standard to have that crime expunged.

There are some crimes that can’t be wiped clean under the bill, such as murder or incest. The bill also includes other provisions: Crime victims have an opportunity to object to the record expungement in some cases, and prosecutors will still have access to criminal records that have been expunged from court records.

A critical element of the bill: A potential employer can only ask job applicants if they’ve been arrested or convicted of a crime that has not been expunged by a court. But it also protects employers from being sued if they hire someone who’s had their record expunged but subsequently commits another crime.

Familiy planning clinics. "A measure that could block one Planned Parenthood clinic from prescribing an abortion-inducing drug and impose new regulations on all clinics that offer the drug is headed to Gov. Mike Pence’s desk. This is the lede to Eric Bradner's April 11th story in the Evansville C&P. Hayleigh Colombo of the Lafayette JC has a story on the bill's impact on the Lafayette Planned Parenthood clinic.

Welfare drug testing. "Court challenge likely for welfare drug-testing bill: Bills in other states have not stood up to legal challenges" is theading to Maureen Hayden's CNHI story today.

Medicaid. "Advocates are calling a proposed expansion of Medicaid a huge boost for Indiana’s economy, but Indiana Gov. Mike Pence isn’t wavering in his opposition. is the heading to Scott Smith's story today in the Kokomo Tribune.

Anti-discrimination protections. "Jury is still out on effect of bill on Indy’s anti-discrimination protections" writes Jon Murray in his IndyStar blog:

As they near the end of this year’s session, legislative leaders still are working out a dispute over how to fix the possible invalidation of part of Indianapolis’ human rights ordinance by an employment bill that’s already passed the House and the Senate. The bill is aimed at barring local governments from requiring private employers to provide benefits or working conditions that exceed state and federal standards. But in late March, Mayor Greg Ballard’s office said the city’s legal analysis suggested that the bill could end up nullifying a 2005 ordinance that, as in some other Indiana cities, prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. * * *

Contrary to city lawyers’ view, a legal memo produced at the request of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce concluded that Senate Bill 213 “unambiguously does not regulate who may be protected from discrimination,” and so it wouldn’t affect anti-discrimination ordinances. Lawyers for the Indianapolis firm Bose McKinney & Evans produced the legal memo for the Chamber.

City leaders, including mayoral Chief of Staff Ryan Vaughn, would prefer to err on the side of caution by protecting such ordinances explicitly. Since the bill is headed to Gov. Mike Pence’s desk, that likely would mean adding an amendment to another pending bill, which, once Pence signs off, would add that change to the resulting law. A suggested fix that city officials have sent to House leaders would simply exempt from the proposed law’s restrictions a local government’s “ability to prohibit any form of discrimination.”

Pence, for his part, has told reporters that he has been assured the issue will be cleared up, and he will consider the effect of such a corrective amendment when he decides whether to sign SB 213.

Sentencing. "Justice system overhaul bill takes next step: Includes proportionate sentencing" was the heading of a Fort Wayne Journal Gazette story by Niki Kelly last week. "House Bill 1006, ... goes back to the House either for acceptance or further compromise."

Wrap-up. Finally, CNHI's Maureen Hayden has this wrap-up of many bills in this story headed " Legislature heads into final stretch: Differences to be resolved on key bills."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 14, 2013 02:14 PM
Posted to Indiana Law