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Statehouse bills to watch

February 25, 2009
All of the following Indiana state bills have passed the third reading in their legislative body of origin as of Monday. The deadline for the third reading of such bills is today (Wednesday). The House bills passing a third reading have moved to the Senate for a first reading, and the Senate bills passing a third reading have made their way to the House for a first reading.

April 15 is the next deadline for the third reading of these bills. Each legislative body will then have two weeks to approve the bills before the legislation session ends on April 29.

This list is not cumulative, but merely contains highlights of major or possibly controversial bills moving through the General Assembly. It contains language taken from the synopsis of the bills.

House Bills

HB 1020: This bill has to do with ignition interlock devices. Under this legislation, courts will be allowed to grant probationary driving privileges to a person convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated if the person does not have any previous OWI convictions or if the last conviction was at least 10 years ago. If a person has been convicted of an OWI between five and 10 years ago or if the person had an exceptionally high blood-alcohol content when they were arrested, the probationary driving privileges will include driving with an ignition interlock device for six months. An ignition interlock device is basically a breathalyzer hooked up to the vehicle's ignition that requires the driver to blow below the legal limit of 0.08 BAC before the car will start.

HB 1097: This bill addresses air and water quality for schools. It requires the state board of education to adopt standards concerning indoor and outdoor air quality and water quality as part of the non-binding guidelines for school corporation construction, alteration, repair and operation of school buildings and athletic and other facilities.

HB 1114: This bill concerns septic tanks and sewer systems. It provides that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management may not require a county to join or form a regional sewer district to provide sewer service to an unincorporated area of the county unless IDEM determines that the population density of the unincorporated area exceeds the minimum population density at which property owners in an unincorporated area of the county may be required to discontinue septic system use. The minimum population density would be set by the legislative body of the county through an ordinance. The bill also provides that a regional sewage district may not require a property owner to connect to a sewer system if the property is located in an unincorporated area and served by a septic system that is functioning satisfactorily as determined by the local health department.

Senate Bills

SB 3: This bill broaches the topic of juvenile DNA testing. It requires a juvenile court to order a child found guilty of an act that would be considered a serious crime if committed by an adult to provide a DNA sample to the agency overseeing the child or to the county sheriff. The crimes include burglary, breaking and entering, a crime of violence or a sex offense.

SB 90: This bill concerns abortion. It provides that consent to an abortion to be voluntary and informed. It requires the physician to inform the pregnant woman that there is differing medical evidence concerning when a fetus feels pain. It requires that notice must be given to a pregnant woman in writing at least 18 hours before an abortion. The notice would include information concerning the availability of adoptions and that certain adoption-related expenses may be borne by the adoptive parents, information concerning physical risks to the woman in having an abortion, information concerning physical risks to the woman for carrying the fetus to term and information stating that an embryo formed by the fertilization of a human ovum by a human sperm immediately begins to divide and grow as human physical life.

SB 294: This bill addresses identity theft. It creates an identity theft unit in the office of the Attorney General and specifies that the unit shall investigate consumer complaints related to identity theft, assist victims of identity theft, cooperate with law enforcement investigations related to identity theft, assist state and federal prosecuting attorneys in the investigation and prosecution of identity theft and notify the appropriate law enforcement agency and prosecuting attorney if there is reasonable suspicion to believe that a person has committed identity theft. The bill also increases the penalty for identity deception against a child to a Class C felony. Other provisions are included as well.

For an update of the latest action on these bills as well as others, visit www.in.gov/legislative/reports/2009/BLASTACT.TXT. For a full synopsis and full text of each of these bills, go to www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo and type the number in the "Go To Bill" box.

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