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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ind. Gov't. - List of enrolled acts received by Gov. Holcomb

According to a news release from the Gov.'s office late this afternoon, the Governor received 44 bills today, and signed them all. From the release:

Governor Holcomb signed 44 bills today. Here are some quick facts about the final passage votes for these bills in both chambers:

· Unanimous – 27
· One vote against – 4
· Two votes against – 2
· Three votes against – 1
· Four votes against -2
· Five votes against – 1
· More than five votes against - 7

The governor offered the following statement regarding his bill signings today and progress this legislative session:

“More than half of the bills I signed today earned unanimous support by our state lawmakers. I am proud of the Hoosier spirit of collaboration and civility we’ve seen so far—as well as our combined focus on the most important issues facing our state.”
Here is Gov. Holcomb's "Bill Watch" page for 2017. Notice that in addition to the bills received today, the Gov. received a number of bills earlier this month, another group in late March, and two in February.

All the bills the Governor has received thus far this session have been signed into law by the Governor, none are shown as having been received but still awaiting his action, and none have been vetoed.

Note that the bill numbers on the "Bill Watch" page are live links to each bill's page on the General Assembly's site.

Remember that it may take a number of days after a bill has been passed by the General Assembly for it to be processed and delivered to the Governor's office.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, April 13, 2017
Posted to Indiana Government

Ind. Decisions - "Indiana Supreme Court rejects AK Steel appeal"

Among the cases denied transfer, as reported on the April 7th transfer list, was Spencer County Assessor v. AK Steel Corporation, where transfer was denied 4-0 with J.Slaughter not participating. This is an Oct. 5, 2016 Tax Court ruling by Sr. Judge Fisher (ILB summary here, 2nd case).

Don Steen of the Spencer County Journal Democrat reports today on the denial. Some quotes:

SPENCER COUNTY – Spencer County saw a considerable victory last week in its legal battle with AK Steel over property-tax assessments.

The Indiana Supreme Court has rejected the company’s appeal of an Oct. 5 ruling from the Indiana Tax Court, which ruled in the county’s favor.

The years-long case centers on AK Steel’s 2008 attempt to claim a Pool 5 deduction, which allows company’s operating a blast furnace in Indiana to substantially reduce their assessed values and overall tax bills.

The county rejected this claim, arguing that the Rockport facility does not house a blast furnace, nor one in the state and, as such, should not be entitled to such a deduction.

Last year’s decision was the latest in a long line of legal proceedings on this matter, and when the Indiana Supreme Court rejected AK Steel’s appeal in an order issued April 4, it meant the tax court’s ruling will likely stand. * * *

The company could appeal the decision to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, [County attorney Jeff Lindsey cautioned]. * * *

Still, the decision was undeniably favorable to the county. Without a Pool 5 deduction, AK Steel’s property-tax assessments will be considerably higher than otherwise, yielding more tax revenue for local coffers.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, April 13, 2017
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions | Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 opinion(s) today (and 1 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (3):

In Wyatt Severance v. New Castle Community School Corporation a/k/a New Castle Career Center, and Turner Melton, a 13-page opinion, Judge Baker writes:

In 2013, Wyatt Severance and Turner Melton were both enrolled in a vocational education program operated by the New Castle Career Center, which is administered through the New Castle Community School Corporation (the “School”). A physical altercation between the two students resulted in a serious leg injury to Severance, who filed a civil complaint against the School, alleging negligence. The School moved for summary judgment on two grounds: first, that Severance was contributorily negligent in bringing about his injuries, thereby barring any recovery, and second, that the School did not breach its duty to Severance. During the summary judgment stage, Severance designated an expert affidavit, which the School moved to strike. The trial court granted the School’s motion to strike and the School’s motion for summary judgment. Finding that the trial court erred in granting the School’s motion to strike and that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the School breached its duty and whether Severance was contributorily negligent precluding summary judgment, we reverse and remand. * * *

Dr. Peterson’s affidavit relates to a dispositive issue in this case. Further, genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the School breached its duty to protect Severance and whether Severance was contributorily negligent in a manner which proximately caused his injuries. The judgment of the trial court is reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

In Charles Cannon v. Kristy A. Caldwell , an 8-page opinion, Judge Crone writes:
Charles Cannon (“Father”) appeals the trial court’s order modifying his child support. Although Father’s notice of appeal was untimely, we conclude that an extraordinarily compelling reason exists to restore his forfeited right to appeal and decide his appeal based on the merits. In this case, the child support modification order is in clear violation of the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. This manifest injustice constitutes an extraordinarily compelling reason to restore Father’s right to appeal and requires the reversal of the child support modification order. Accordingly, we reverse and remand. * * *

Here, the scant record before us shows that Father receives SSI of $733 per month. However, the Indiana Child Support Guidelines specifically provide that means-tested public assistance programs, including SSI, are excluded from the definition of weekly gross income used to determine a parent’s child support obligation. Ind. Child Support Guideline 3(A)(1). “‘SSI is a federal social welfare program designed to assure that the recipient’s income is maintained at a level viewed by Congress as the minimum necessary for the subsistence of that individual.’” McGill v. McGill, 801 N.E.2d 1249, 1252 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004) (quoting Cox v. Cox, 654 N.E.2d 275, 277 (Ind. Ct. App. 1995)). “As a matter of law, SSI recipients lack the money or means to satisfy child support obligations.” Id. (citing Cox, 654 N.E.2d at 277); see also Ward v. Ward, 763 N.E.2d 480, 482 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002) (“[T]his court has consistently held that SSI recipients, as a matter of law, cannot be held in contempt for failure to comply with child support orders.”). Thus, the child support modification order setting Father’s child support at $35 per week is on its face in clear violation of the Child Support Guidelines. We conclude that this obvious injustice is an extraordinarily compelling reason to restore Father’s forfeited right to appeal and decide the appeal on the merits. Unless and until our supreme court further defines extraordinarily compelling reasons and we can discern its actual elements rather than merely looking at the result, we must conclude that a manifestly unjust result constitutes an extraordinarily compelling reason to reach the merits of an otherwise forfeited appeal.

As for the merits of Father’s appeal, we have already concluded that the child support modification order is in violation of the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

In S.M. v. State of Indiana , a 10-page opinion, Judge Mathias writes:
S.M., a teenaged girl, was adjudicated a delinquent child for helping H.J., a teenaged boy, steal Lashawn Rogers’s (“Rogers”) car. She appeals from the true finding in Marion Superior Court that she committed what would be Level 6 felony theft and Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass if done by an adult. Because the true finding was supported by sufficient evidence, we affirm. * * *

S.M. challenges only her identification by Rogers as the girl at the gas station on December 6, 2015. See Appellant’s Br. at 16, Appellee’s Br. at 7. Rogers had three distinct occasions to observe the girl: once as Rogers pulled into the gas station parking space and worried that the girl would ask her for money, once when she tripped outside the gas station and addressed the boy’s offer to help her, and finally when she saw the girl sitting in the passenger’s seat of her car as it backed out of the parking space and drove away. The impression produced by those observations was clear and distinct enough that Rogers, without prompting or suggestion by the State’s agents, was able to pick out S.M. from a collection of ten to twenty pictures showing two to three different teenaged girls. Rogers then identified S.M. at the delinquency hearing as the girl at the gas station. If believed, Rogers’s testimony established S.M.’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. We will not re-evaluate Rogers’s credibility on appeal. * * *

As the prosecutor repeated no fewer than four times in his 150-word closing argument, “This case is about whether you believe [Mrs.] Rogers or not.” Tr. p. 142. The trial court believed her, and we cannot say that no reasonable trier of fact could have done the same. Its judgment is therefore affirmed.

NFP civil decisions today (0):

NFP juvenile and criminal decisions today (1):

Mauricio D. Sharp v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, April 13, 2017
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions

Ind. Gov't. - "States and Cities in Power Struggle Over Local Laws"

That is the headline of a long $$$ story today in the WSJ, reported by Jon Kamp and Joe Palazzolo, about a national move from state legislatures usurping local ordinances one by one (i.e. plastic bags, Airb&b regulation) to states adopting an "overriding policy." A few quotes:

States are stepping up a push to rein in the power of local governments to make laws.

Politicians in Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania are backing broad-based approaches to block city ordinances, rather than fighting cities on specific issues like minimum-wage rules. Arizona passed such a law last year that is currently being tested in the courts.

Proponents say these wide-ranging bills are a way to get ahead of a flurry of local actions around the country, such as a plastic-bag levy in New York City, a paid sick-leave requirement in Philadelphia and ride-sharing regulations affecting companies such as Uber. * * *

Supporters of state-level pre-emption measures say they are needed to assert states’ authority and stop cities from creating uneven regulations that scare off businesses. The states are reacting to increasingly aggressive pushes for local rules, said Ben Wilterdink, director of the commerce, insurance and economic-development task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC], which says it is dedicated to limited government, free markets and federalism.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, April 13, 2017
Posted to Indiana Government