Friday, March 25, 2016
Ind. Gov't. - Legislation wrap-up, 2016 [Updated]
The session is over, and as of late yesterday afternoon, all the bills sent to Governor Pence have been processed. He has signed all but two of them, both of which he vetoed (as opposed to doing nothing, which would allow them to become law without his signature).
The two vetoed are HEA 1082, the so-called "no more stringent" bill, a watered-down version of the introduced bill, and HEA 1022, concerning public records and private university police forces. Much has been written about both bills. Some recent stories include:
- "Pence vetoes college police records bill by Margaret Fosmoe, South Bend Tribune. A quote:
House Bill 1022 was approved by the Indiana General Assembly nearly unanimously amid a high-profile court fight between the University of Notre Dame and ESPN over the university's police records.
The Indiana Court of Appeals this month ruled in favor of ESPN, which sought records from Notre Dame for crimes involving student athletes. The university plans to appeal the decision to the Indiana Supreme Court.
If the bill had become law, it was expected to render moot any court precedent established by the ESPN case -- a case that could ultimately force private colleges to release more police records.
In a statement explaining his veto, Pence said he has "long believed in the public’s right to know and a free and independent press."
"Limiting access to police records in a situation where private university police departments perform a government function is a disservice to the public and an unnecessary barrier to transparency," the statement said.
Pence had hinted at his decision last week, when he said his "strong bias for the public's right to know" would weigh heavily in his decision on whether to veto the bill.
Notre Dame officials declined to respond Thursday, referring questions to Independent Colleges of Indiana, a private organization that helped write the bill.
In the ESPN-Notre Dame court battle, the appeals court ruled that the university's police department is a public agency and subject to open records laws. The South Bend Tribune filed a brief in support of ESPN in the court case, and urged Pence in an editorial last week to veto HB 1022. * * *
The bill was sponsored by State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend. It was pushed by the state's private colleges and would have exempted them from more stringent crime reporting requirements faced by other police agencies in Indiana, including those on public university campuses.
Bauer on Thursday issued a statement saying he was disappointed with Pence's veto of the bill, which he claimed "would have created greater transparency for private university police records."
He said the bill was designed to help crime victims and was never intended to influence the ESPN-Notre Dame lawsuit.
- "Pence vetoes effort to limit environmental regs," by Tony Cook of the Indianapolis Star. Also, "Pence stands up to Legislature on regulatory oversight," by Dan Carden, NWI Times.
- HEA 1337, which the NWI Times reported in a story headed "Pence signs law requiring women give birth to disabled, deformed babies," by Dan Carden. A quote:
In addition to making Indiana just the second state, along with North Dakota, to prohibit abortion of a disabled or deformed fetus, the new law mandates medical facilities cremate or bury the remains of aborted or miscarried fetuses instead of disposing of them as medical waste.The NY Times today reports on p. 14 in a long story including:
Women, however, specifically are not required by the new law to name their aborted or miscarried fetus prior to burial or cremation.
Abortion doctors also must comply with numerous additional paperwork requirements under the law, including having records of their hospital admitting privileges distributed to employees at every hospital in their county and each adjacent county.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which operates a Merrillville abortion clinic, already is planning to seek a preliminary injunction to stop the law — which it describes as "pro-birth" and not "pro-life" — from taking effect.
The bill is among several limiting abortion that have passed conservative legislatures in recent years, but the sheer number of restrictions in Indiana’s legislation made it distinct.Niki Kelly reports in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:
In addition to holding doctors liable if a woman has an abortion solely because of objections to the fetus’s race, sex or a disability, like Down syndrome, the law restricts fetal tissue donation and requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital or to have an agreement with a doctor who does.
“Seeing them all in one place, that is very striking,” said Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor who has been an abortion rights advocate. “It’s like the kitchen sink: Everything that isn’t already in the law. And the law is already really restrictive.” * * *
Many of the provisions in the Indiana law have been enacted previously in at least one other state. Arizona also bans abortion on the basis of race, and North Dakota has outlawed abortions performed because the fetus has a disability.
Professor Johnsen said the Indiana legislation was “a clear attempt to interfere and harm and chill doctors’ willingness to perform abortions.”
But Dr. Christina Francis, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Fort Wayne, Ind., who works with anti-abortion groups, said that it stopped far short of a ban, and that “a woman can still procure an abortion just because she wants to.”
Indiana is now home to one of the most restrictive abortion laws on the books after Gov. Mike Pence signed House Bill 1337 into law Thursday.
The legislation prohibits a woman from getting an abortion if her motivation is solely because of the fetus’s race, sex or potential disability. * * *
One criticism of the bill is that a woman can continue to abort a perfectly healthy fetus before 20 weeks without giving any reason at all. But she cannot do so if her motivation is related to disabilities. And opponents have said it intrudes into a woman’s private conversations with a doctor.
During the legislative session, there were uncomfortable conversations in committee and on the floor about the economic effects of forcing parents to keep a severely disabled child.
A doctor could face disciplinary action or civil suit for performing an abortion knowing the procedure was solely due to disability or sex selection. There are no consequences for the woman.
- "Pence signs bill legalizing daily fantasy sports," by Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star. The new law is SEA 339.
- "Indiana Legalizes Captive Deer Hunting," by Daniel Xu of Hunting News. See also this ILB post from yesterday re high-powered rifles and hunting preserves bills, along with a constitutional amendment.
- SEA 28, increasing medical malpractice caps, was signed yesterday by the governor.
- HEA 1386, which inter alia, would allow liquor sales at state parks, including the Dunes Pavilion, despite local opposition, was also signed yesterday. From a news release by Dunes Action:
CHESTERTON, Ind. – Today, Governor Mike Pence ignored our voices and signed HEA 1386, which will allow alcohol sales at Indiana Dunes State Park by automatically granting a liquor license to the Department of Natural Resources. Under the new law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2016, alcohol can be sold on the park's premises, which will include the parking lot surrounding the Pavilion during special outdoor events. In effect, Pavilion Partners will now be getting a free permit, courtesy of the Indiana DNR. This is the latest perk in a deal that allows a private company to use public land at a bargain price, and without having to pay property taxes.[3/27/16 Update] From Dan Carden of the NWI times:
By failing to veto this bill, Governor Pence has struck a blow to local community rights, opened our state park to commercialization for the sake of selling alcohol, and demonstrated a lack of concern for small businesses in our area. The governor missed a golden opportunity to send a strong message to the General Assembly that these ideas are not acceptable. Instead, he signaled that our family-friendly Indiana state parks are now up for grabs.
The possibility of alcohol sales at a renovated Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion has received the blessing of Gov. Mike Pence.
The Republican signed House Enrolled Act 1386 into law Thursday, allowing the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to obtain "state park" alcohol permits for any or all of its parks, without having to follow most of the procedures typically required to get state permission to sell beer, wine or liquor — including local review.
Pavilion Partners, which has a 35-year lease with the DNR to renovate the historic Dunes pavilion and operate various dining and event spaces there, twice was denied an alcohol sales permit last year by the Porter County Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Under the new law, which takes effect July 1, the DNR must be issued a permit by the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission if it requests one, and any entity that contracts with the agency in a state park would be permitted to sell alcohol using that license. * * *
State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, whose district includes the park, said Pence is wrong to send the message that if you can't win with local officials who know what their communities need, come to the state and you'll get it, anyway. "If they didn't get what they want, then maybe they should have gone back and renegotiated some of the terms," Tallian said.
- HEA 1127 - Civil proceeding advance payment transactions.
- HEA 1201 - Companion animal steralization
Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 25, 2016 08:40 AM
Posted to Indiana Government