The 2010 General Assembly won’t go down as a banner year for public access. Other than increasing transparency to the relationship between lobbyists and legislators, very little of note was accomplished.
As for public notice advertising, it was a quiet session with no bills filed that attack the proposition that government has an obligation to inform citizens of action taken or contemplated and that newspapers remain the most effective way of providing such information.
Following are bills that HSPA became involved with or monitored during the 2010 legislative session:
H.B. 1075 – This bill would have given judges the authority to fine public officials for deliberate violations of the state’s public access laws, enabled the Public Access Counselor to review original documents to determine whether redactions were proper, require local government to either post Internet notice of meetings or give interested citizens e-mail notice, and statutorily declare “reasonable” as the applicable standard for when documents should be produced to a records requester.
Unfortunately, the bill died for lack of a hearing in the Senate Commerce, Public Policy and Interstate Cooperation Committee, chaired by Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette. Sen. Alting initially committed to giving the bill a hearing, but changed his mind when a negative fiscal impact was attached to the bill.
Alting said Senate leadership had instructed committee chairs to hear no bills with a negative fiscal impact. HSPA worked with Rep. Russ Stilwell, D-Boonville, and Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield (H.B. 1075’s author and sponsor) to remove language it believed created the $67,500 price tag, but even with that change, the State Budget Agency said the bill would increase Public Access Counselor office costs by $4,000 and mentioned some “undeterminable” costs for some other agencies. That was enough to kill the bill.
The bill had passed the House with a 97-0 vote. Rep. Stilwell was joined by Speaker of House Pat Bauer, D-South Bend; Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis; and Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis; as co-authors.
Rep. Bartlett gave H.B. 1075 a hearing as chairman of the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. The committee approved the bill by a 7-0 vote, despite opposition testimony from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and Indiana Association of Counties.
Testifying in favor of the bill was the Indiana Coalition for Open Government and Common Cause, among others.
Joining Sen. Gard as co-sponsors were Sens. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis; Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond; and Bob Deig, D-Mount Vernon.
H.E.A. 1068 – This bill closes public access to the Indiana State Police process of issuing gun carrying permits. Despite HSPA’s opposition, this bill passed by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate. While HSPA had requested he veto the bill, Gov. Mitch Daniels signed it into law on March 12.
Stories about the gun permit process by The Indianapolis Star and The Herald-Times (Bloomington) sparked an e-mail blast by the National Rifle Association that said Indiana newspapers were treating gun owners like “sex offenders” by posting names and addresses on their Web sites – which was false.
The misinformation though prompted hundreds of e-mails demanding a change in the system to be sent to state legislators. Rep. Peggy Welch, D-Bloomington, authored H.E.A. 1068 in response.
While Rep. Welch recognizes the value of public accountability, her bill only allows access to general information about the process for journalists and academic researchers.
HSPA argued that names were necessary for the ability of journalists to determine whether the Indiana State Police are giving permits to individuals who are not qualified or have been recommended against getting a permit by local police departments.
The Indianapolis Star flagged about 450 permits issued that raised such questions in Lake and Marion counties.
H.E.A. 1068 was passed 12-0 by the House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Bob Bischoff, D-Greendale. The House then passed the bill 85-11.
Rep. Welch was joined as co-authors by Reps. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond; Eric Koch, R-Bedford; and Sandra Blanton, D-Paoli.
Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, was the Senate sponsor. H.E.A. 1068 was passed 7-1 by the Senate Corrections, Criminal & Civil Matters Committee, chaired By Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford. It then was passed by the Senate 48-0. Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, was the lone dissenter in the committee vote.
Joining Sen. Walker as co-sponsors were Sens. Steele; Bob Deig, D-Mount Vernon; Jim Lewis, D-Charlestown; Richard Young, D-Milltown; and Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn.
S.B. 195 – This was the Senate version of H.E.A. 1068, closing public access to the gun carrying permit process. HSPA testified against this bill, authored by Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, when it was heard in the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters, chaired by Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford.
The bill passed out of committee with a 7-2 vote and out of the Senate floor, 45-5. The popularity of this bill is evidenced by the number of legislators who signed up to be co-authors of this pro-NRA bill – 15 [Sens. Brandt Hershman, R-Monticello; Steele; Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe; Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury; Johnny Nugent, R-Lawrenceburg; Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood; Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg; Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte; Mike Young, R-Indianapolis; Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake; Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn; David Long, R-Fort Wayne; Travis Holdman, R-Markle; Bob Deig, D-Mount Vernon; and Jim Lewis, D-Charlestown.
The bill died in the House Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by Rep. Bob Bischoff, D-Greendale, when it was decided to move H.E.A. 1068. House sponsors were Reps. Peggy Welch, D-Bloomington; Eric Koch, R-Bedford; Linda Lawson, D-Hammond; and Sandra Blanton, D-Paoli.
H.B. 1219 – This bill introduced by Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Indianapolis, also would have closed public access to the gun carrying permit process. Co-sponsors were Reps. Cindy Noe, R-Indianapolis; and John Barnes, D-Indianapolis.
The bill died in the House Committee on Natural Resources, which moved H.E.A. 1068 instead.
H.E.A. 1001 – This legislative ethics reform bill casts a wider spotlight on the relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers. It reduces the threshold for the reporting of gifts or meals given legislators by lobbyists from $100 to $50 a day and $500 to $250 a year. Makes other reporting changes, including the requirement that government agency “legislative liaisons” file reports and that the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission post reports on the Internet. Bill also creates a one-year cooling off period before legislators can become lobbyists
HSPA testified in favor of the transparency provisions of the bill. Twenty-six Indiana newspapers, spearheaded by The Indianapolis Star, editorially advocated changes in legislative ethics prior to and during the legislative session.
Speaker of the House Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, was the bill’s author. He was joined by Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Indianapolis, as the co-author.
H.E.A. 1001 was passed by the House Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedures, chaired by Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne before its passage on the House floor by a 97-2 vote.
H.E.A. 1001’s sponsor was Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis. It was approved by the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure, chaired by President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne. It then was approved by the Senate, 50-0. All 50 senators were added to the bill as co-sponsors.
The House concurred on the Senate version, with a 97-0 vote.
S.B. 114 – This bill was the Senate version of the legislative ethics reform bill. Many of its provisions were incorporated into H.E.A. 1001. HSPA testified in favor of S.B. 114’s government transparency provisions during its hearing before the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure, chaired by President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne.
Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, was the bill’s author. It passed out of the Rules committee and was approved by the House, 50-0.
S.B. 114 died in the House Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedures, chaired by Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, when it was decided that H.E.A. 1001 would be the bill moving forward. House sponsors were Speaker of the House Pat Bauer, D-South Bend; Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Indianapolis; and House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.
S.B. 405 – This bill concerning gaming operations included a provision that would have required entities receiving money from casinos under local economic development agreements to report expenditures to the Indiana Attorney General.
HSPA supported this effort at greater transparency in agreements that were an integral part of the referendum process for the approval of gaming in the state. HSPA testified in favor of this language during the bill’s Senate and House committee hearings.
The bill’s author was Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville. It passed out of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which he chaired. The Senate passed S.B. 405 with a 33-17 vote. The House sponsor was Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis.
House Committee on Public Policy chairman Rep. Trent Van Haaften, replaced the AG language with a requirement that the reports go to the Indiana Gaming Commission and strengthened the public’s right to access language. His language came from H.B. 1082, which he authored, but did not move.
S.B. 405 passed out of his committee, but died on the Senate floor when Rep. Crawford withdrew the bill from discussion during a flap concerning other provisions of the gaming bill.
S.B. 346 – This bill authored by Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, would have required entities receiving money from casinos under local economic development agreements to report expenditures to the Indiana Gaming Commission.
HSPA would have supported this bill, but it died in the Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Sen. Luke Kenley. A similar concept was contained at various times in S.B. 405 and H.E.A. 1086.
H.E.A. 1086 – This bill became the session’s “Christmas tree” bill as pieces from other bills were added to it like ornaments. The bill, authored by Rep. Peggy Welch, D-Bloomington, originated as a bill concerning property and local income taxes.
During its 2nd reading in the House, co-sponsor Rep. Eric Turner, R-Marion, offered an amendment that would require the State Auditor to begin the process toward posting state financial information on the Internet.
HSPA supports this concept and asked sponsor Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Monticello, to preserve this language in the Senate, which he did.
In conference committee, the language was added from S.B. 405 concerning reporting requirements to the Indiana Gaming Commission for entities that receive casino dollars as part of local economic development agreements.
Unfortunately, both public transparency provisions were removed during the conference committee negotiations. While presenting the conference committee report to the House, Rep. Welch indicated she’d return next session with the intent to resurrect the language concerning Internet posting of state financial information. H.E.A. 1086’s conference committee report was passed by both chambers.
S.B. 230 – This bill would require local government boards that notified their members of meetings by e-mail to also notify by e-mail citizens who requested such notice.
HSPA testified in favor of this bill, authored by Sen. Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood, at both its Senate and House committee hearings. It was opposed by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and Association of Indiana Counties. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce supported this bill.
S.B. 230 was approved in the Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville, with a 10-0 vote. The Senate passed it, 35-15. Co-authors were Sens. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond; Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis; and Tim Lanane, D-Anderson.
The bill died in a 5-6 vote in the House Committee on Local Government, chaired by Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary. Rep. Russ Stilwell, D-Boonville, was the bill’s sponsor.
H.B. 1143 – This bill contained language similar to S.B. 230. HSPA would have supported the bill (authored by Rep. David Frizzell, R-Indianapolis), but it didn’t get a hearing in the House Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform, chaired by Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis, who moved H.B. 1075 instead.
S.E.A. 382 – This bill contains a provision requiring a public hearing and posting before its approval of the proposed private-public agreement to build the Illiana Expressway connecting I-65 in southern Lake County to Illinois and I-57 as a way to bypass Chicago traffic.
Upon the request of bill co-sponsor Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, HSPA provided some advice and analysis of state procurement and public-private agreement law.
With the above language included, S.E.A. 382 was passed by the House with an 89-6 vote and Senate concurrence, 42-0. The bill’s author was Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso. The House sponsor was Speaker of the House Pat Bauer, D-South Bend.
S.B. 83 – This bill allowed provisional ballot materials to be available for public inspection in the same fashion as absentee and regular ballot materials. HSPA worked with bill author Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, to improve the language.
The bill emerged from the Senate Committee on Elections, chaired by Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake, and was passed by the Senate, 48-1. Co-sponsors were Sens. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond; and John Broden, D-South Bend.
S.B. 83 died in the House Committee on Elections and Apportionment. Committee chair and bill sponsor Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, decided to move a similar bill, H.B. 1106, forward rather than this bill. Co-sponsors were Reps. Kathy Richardson, R-Noblesville; and Phil Hinkle, R-Indianapolis.
H.B. 1106 – This election law bill contained language similar to S.B. 83. When it moved to the Senate, HSPA worked with author Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes; and sponsor Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville, to make sure the language treated provisional ballot material the same as absentee and regular ballot material.
The bill, despite House (52-44) and Senate (49-1) passage, died in conference committee when an agreement on the contents of the report could not be reached.
H.E.A. 30 – Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton, added language that would open up to public scrutiny additional information about state pension funds. His second reading amendment to this Senate bill would have made public the amount of state contributions to participant accounts and the monthly amount paid out to retired state and local public employees and officials.
HSPA has supported the concept of opening up pension fund records to greater public accountability since they were closed following work by The Times (Munster) that revealed pensions Lake County officials, who had been convicted of crimes while in office, were receiving.
Rep. Thompson’s amendment passed 77-19 on the House floor, but was removed from the bill by its conference committee, chaired by the bill’s author, Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville.
S.B. 149 – HSPA voiced its concern over changes contemplated in this bill concerning the Department of Child Services that appeared to eliminate the prosecutor’s determination on a child’s death as a trigger to make certain records open to the public.
Bill author Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville, sponsor Rep. Dennis Avery, D-Evansville, and DCS’s legislative liaison Ellen Holland assured HSPA that was not the intent and an amendment to the bill cleared up the issue in the Senate.
The bill died when the House failed to vote on a conference committee report on the last day of the session.
S.B. 175 – This bill contained a provision that would have allowed the state Department of Health to charge a search fee for vital records requests. HSPA pointed out to bill author Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, that this would be contrary to the framework of the Access to Public Records Act, which prohibits copying fees from including the cost of searching for records.
Sen. Miller and health department’s Director of Legislative Affairs Brian Carnes agreed to fix the language in the bill’s hearing before the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services, chaired by Miller.
The bill eventually died at the conference committee stage of the session.
S.B. 298 – This bill intended to merge the PERF and TRF boards into one entity, but not as a state agency. HSPA suggested to bill author Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, that the public retirement system language should specify that the entity was subject to the state’s Access to Public Records Act.
Sen. Kenley agreed to make the change in conference committee, but the bill died in the House Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Rep. Bill Crawford, after its passage in the Senate by a 32-18 vote.
133213321336 – During the waning hours of session, a conference committee report was agreed up that includes executive session language to deal with some state Department of Financial Institutions matters. HSPA expressed its concern over extent of secrecy involved to conferees Reps. Jeb Bardon, D-Indianapolis; and Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, who agreed to work during the 2011 session with HSPA on a reasonable period of time when information discussed would become available to the public.
The Senate conferees were Sens.
Richard Bray, R-Martinsville; and Tim Lanane, D-Anderson.Brandt Hershman, R-Monticello; and Tim Skinner, D-Terre Haute. The conference committee report was approved unanimously by both the Senate and House shortly before the session ended. Rep. Bardon was the bill’s author.
H.B. 1163 – This bill would have allowed for the expungement of records when a conviction was overturned by DNA evidence. HSPA testified that expungement doesn’t really erase the records because they are collected by giant data collection companies and can still haunt the individual even if the official record is destroyed.
The bill, authored by Rep. Vern Tincher, D-Riley, was passed by the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code, chaired by Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, and the House, 95-0.
It died in the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters, chaired by Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, who was the bill’s sponsor.
H.B. 1276 – During the Senate 2nd reading of this bill, Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, added a provision amending the Access to Public Records Act stressing that a public agency could not limit access to a record based on whether it’s a paper document or electronic record or create an access fee not supported by state law.
The provision was eliminated from the bill authored by Rep. Sandra Blanton, D-Paoli, when the conference committee report changed the bill from one concerning domestic violence, HIV testing and judicial technology to a bill concerned with the French Lick casino and resort. The bill was passed by both chambers.
H.E.A. 1234 – The conference committee for this bill added the language from H.B. 1276 making changes to the Access to Public Records Act. The bill than was passed by both the House and Senate. The language stresses that a public agency can not limit access to a record based on whether it’s an electronic or paper document or create a fee for access not supported by state law.
The conferees were Reps. Scott Reske, D-Pendleton; and Ralph Foley, R-Martinsville; and Sens. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville; and Tim Lanane, D-Anderson. S.B. 106 – HSPA raised a concern with the elimination of a cap on a provision concerning the disposal of state-owned real estate with bill author Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso. Sen. Charbonneau agreed to check on the issue, but the bill died without a hearing in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Public Policy & Interstate Cooperation, chaired by Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette.
H.B. 1121 – This bill concerning state contracting with disabled veterans contained a confidentiality provision that HSPA believed to be too vague. HSPA talked to author Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Crothersville, who was amenable to an amendment, but the bill died without a hearing before the House Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis.
H.B. 1245 – This zoning law bill included a copying fee provision that HSPA believes ran counter to the actual cost requirement of the Access to Public Records Act. Bill author Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, was agreeable to a suggested change, but the bill died without a hearing in the House Committee on Local Government, chaired by Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary.
S.B. 363 – This bill would have expanded the “investigatory records” exception to the Access to Public Records Act to records of the commission of an infraction or violation of a municipal or county ordinance and included city attorneys as “law enforcement agencies. The bill’s author was Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend.
HSPA would have opposed this bill if it moved, but it died without a hearing in the Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville.
S.B. 309 – On second reading, Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Crothersville, offered an amendment that created a fee to be levied on “negative political advertisement to support reading remediation. Rep. Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, spoke forcefully against the amendment to the education bill on the House floor, but it was approved by a voice vote.
As soon as he was contacted, Rep. Goodin assured HSPA that the provision would be removed from the education matters bill. The outrageous proposal apparently was intended to insure that S.B. 309 would go to a conference committee for negotiations between the House and Senate.
Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, was the bill’s author and Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, was the sponsor. The political advertising language was removed and the bill’s conference committee report was passed by both chambers on the last day of the session.
H.B. 1355 – This bill would have imposed a $25 per ton tax on newsprint used to print Indiana newspapers if the newsprint contained less than 40 percent recycled fiber content.
Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, was the bill’s author. It received a hearing in the House Committee on Environmental Affairs, chaired by Rep. Ryan Dvorak, D-South Bend. Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan, D-Indianapolis, was the bill’s co-author.
HSPA, Home News Enterprises president Jeff Brown and Indiana Chamber of Commerce Director of Environmental and Energy Policy Vince Griffin testified against the bill.
Key and Brown pointed out the burden a minimum $600,000 tax on less than 200 newspapers would be. They also spoke to the fact newsprint purchases are subject to what is available and Wolkins’ tax would most likely fall on the smallest publishers because they would have the least amount of leverage to purchase newsprint that would not be subject to the tax.
At the conclusion of testimony, Wolkins conceded that his bill still needed work and no vote to advance the bill was requested.
H.E.A. 1001 and S.B. 114 – These legislative ethics reform bills contain a provision that prohibits state elected officials from using their likeness or name in newspaper, audio or video advertising paid for by state funds unless it’s OK’d by the budget committee and state budget agency.
The provision appears to be aimed at Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who has appeared in ads aimed at thwarting consumer fraud.
HSPA testified that it was concerned about the advertising limitation because there are appropriate subjects for state officials to promote, such as tourism by Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, for example. The language became law in H.E.A. 1001.
S.B. 63 – This bill created a penalty for candidates who make the information in political ads stating who paid for the ad and whether it was authorized by the candidate or candidate’s committee difficult to read, but exempted the media from the penalty.
HSPA and the Indiana Broadcasters Association worked with bill author Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, on the language protecting media from liability. HSPA testified on behalf of the bill when it was heard by the Senate Committee on Elections, chaired by Sen. Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake.
The committee approved S.B. 63 as did the Senate with a vote of 48-0. Sen. Connie Sipes, D-New Albany, was the co-author.
House sponsors were Reps. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes; Kathy Richardson, R-Noblesville; and John Barnes, D-Indianapolis. H.B. 63 died in the House Committee on Elections and Apportionment, chaired by Rep. Battles.
H.E.A. 1332 – This bill also contains language prohibiting the inclusion of a state officer’s name in a publication or media broadcast paid for by state funds earmarked for securities fraud enforcement – another jab at advertising done by Secretary of State Todd Rokita.
Author Rep. Jeb Bardon, D-Indianapolis, inserted the advertising prohibition language during its House 2nd reading. The Senate sponsor is Sen. Richard Bray, R-Martinsville. The bill was passed by both chambers (47-2 in the Senate and 96-0 in the House).
S.E.A. 382 – This bill contains a provision requiring a public hearing and posting before its approval of the proposed private-public agreement to build the Illiana Expressway connecting I-65 in southern Lake County to Illinois as a way to bypass Chicago traffic.
When co-sponsor Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, inserted the public hearing process, the language only called for publication in one newspaper in the county, HSPA suggested the provision should be consistent with I.C. 5-3-1 and call for publication of notice in two newspapers.
Rep. Austin agreed, but had co-sponsor Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, introduce the 2nd reading amendment to fix the language.
With the above language included, S.E.A. 382 was passed by the House with an 89-6 vote and Senate concurrence, 42-0. The bill’s author was Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso. The House author was Speaker of the House Pat Bauer, D-South Bend.
H.B. 1030 – This bill concerning local government reorganization was altered by a lengthy Senate 2nd reading amendment offered by Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville that contained a provision that would have made it a Class C infraction if a county official placed a public notice advertisement in an additional newspaper.
HSPA isn’t sure where this language originated, but believes Sen. Lawson and bill author Rep. Gail Riecken, D-Evansville, would have worked to eliminate it in conference committee, but conferees were not assigned to this bill after its Senate passage and it died.
H.B. 1223 – This county government reorganization bill also contained the Class C infraction language for providing extra public notice advertising. Bill author Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, was willing to amend the language, but the bill died without a hearing in the House Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform, chaired by Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis.
S.B. 208 – HSPA suggested an amendment making it clear a public notice advertisement would be necessary before a hearing on a solid waste management district’s proposed tax rate, which was a provision of the bill. S.B. 208’s author Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, moved the amendment during the bill’s second reading in the Senate. The bill was passed by the Senate, 32-18
The bill eventually died in the House Committee on Environmental Affairs, chaired by Rep. Ryan Dvorak, D-South Bend. Rep. Bill Crawford, D-Indianapolis, was the bill’s sponsor.
S.B. 332 – HSPA gave bill author Sen. Billie Breaux, D-Indianapolis, a suggested amendment clarifying a public notice advertisement requirement for utilities when establishing a tree-cutting policy to protect utility lines.
Sen. Breaux accepted the amendment, but the bill died in the Senate Committee on Utilities & Technology, chaired by Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis.
S.B. 109 – HSPA talked to bill author Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, about the need for public notice of state projects that would close a state highway for at least five days, which was the subject of her bill. Sen. Leising agreed to consider HSPA’s suggestion, but the bill died in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Transportation & Veterans Affairs, chaired by Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne.
S.B. 105 – HSPA talked to bill author Sen. Allen Paul, R-Richmond, about what type of notice he wanted given for his proposed public hearing for highway projects that would restrict access to businesses for five or more days. Sen. Paul was agreeable to a public notice advertisement, but said the bill wasn’t expected to move forward. He thought S.B. 109 would be the bill addressing the issue.
The bill died in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Transportation & Veterans Affairs, chaired by Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne.
S.B. 278 – HSPA talked to bill author Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, about an improvement in public notice advertising language found in a provision concerning ordinances for a public safety services fee. Sen. Buck indicated a willingness to look at the suggestion, but his bill died in the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy, chaired by Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Monticello.
S.B. 306 – This bill would have appropriated $3,000,000 to the Department of Education to be used to fund matching grants to school corporations to participate in the Imagination Library early reading program to provide books for children from birth through five years of age.
The author was Sen. Connie Sipes, D-New Albany. The bill died in the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development, chaired by Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn.
H.B. 1335 – This bill attempted to clarify that Indiana’s law of the rights of publicity applied to celebrities who died prior to the original law’s passage in 1994. It also set up an interim study committee to examine additional issues with the right of publicity.
The bill, authored by Rep. Jeb Bardon, D-Indianapolis, was approved by the House, 76-21. It died in the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure, chaired by President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne.
The sponsors were Sens. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville; and Gary Dillon, R-Pierceton.