Bills that passed Third Reading in the House today:
SB 75 – Military family relief fund. It’s a shame that this bill is even necessary – both because the War in Iraq is such a waste of time, effort, blood, and treasure especially when one considers how little our nation gets in return and because it is a shame that military families are not taken care of without bills like this one. That being said, this bill is probably the least we can do. It establishes the military relief fund to provide grants for essential family support expenses to families of Indiana residents who are members of the Indiana National Guard or armed forces reserves and have been called to active duty in the past 4.5 years. The sources of revenue for the fund would be 1) appropriations by the general assembly which the Director of Veterans’ Affairs is authorized to solicit annually; 2) a check-off on Indiana taxes similar to the non-game wildlife fund check-off currently in effect – that fund collected $363,478 in tax year 2003; and 3) donations — to encourage donations, a person registering a vehicle can designate an additional amount for deposit in the fund.
SB 258 – Taxation and state and local finance. This is a hodgepodge bill. It requires the Governor to sign off on internal controls on accounting and financial information in executive branch agencies and requires the budget director and governor to certify that certain financial informationf airly represents the financial condition of the state and that the state’s internal accounting controls are effective. It changes the date for validation of ouutstanding bonds and lease agreements executed by various governmental entities from 3/15/00 to 3/15/06. Specifies that tobacco products are not food. (I suppose if the General Assembly has control over the value of pi and when a fetus is viable, they can make tobacco products food or not food as it pleases.) Specifies that a person is a retail merchant making a retail transaction when the person sells tangible personal property as part of a bundled transaction. For purposes of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, exempts certain people from the monthly gross retail and use tax return requirements if the person’s tax liability for the preceding calendar year does not exceed $1,000. For sales tax purposes, an order of flowers that is taken at one location and is transmitted to a florist at another location for delivery is sourced to the florist that originally took the order.
SB 269 – License plates. Requires personalized plates to be issued annually (instead of, I believe, biennially). Requires a personalized plate to be reserved before October 31 of each year and requires the bureau to remind holders of personalized plates of the necessity for reservations. Provides that the money in the Indiana arts commission trust fund only needs to reach $1 million before interest is appropriated to the Indiana arts commission. Current law sets the principal level at $50 million.
SB 277 – Genesis Convention Center board of managers. Allows the Gary City council to adopt an ordinance for payment of a salary or a per diem to members of the board of managers of the convention center who do not hold another lucrative office. Currently the statute prevents them from receiving salaries.
SB 283 – Emergency telephone notification system. Allows a county or municipality to establish an emergency telephone notification system to warn citizens of emergencies. Allows emergency telephone system fees to be used to pay for the system. Grants civil immunity to
a service supplier or telephone company in conjunction with operating
an emergency telephone notification system.
SB 310 – Alternate methods for earning high school credits. Allows a student to earn credits toward graduation or an honors diploma through non-classroom methods, including receiving a score that demonstrates proficiency on a standardized assessment recognized by postsecondary institutions, receiving a high proficiency level score on an end of course assessment for a course without having taken the course, successfully completing a similar course at an eligible
institution under the postsecondary enrollment program, or scoring a 3 or above on an AP test.
SB 332 – Dept. of Correction pension benefits. Gives a $150,000 death benefit to family surviving a hazardous duty employee of the DOC who dies in the line of duty and gives free tuition to state colleges for the employee’s children and surviving spouse.
SB 314 – Soil and water conservation districts and wild animals. Defeated on third reading. I wonder what happened to this one. It passed the Senate 50 – 0. The House Committee amended it but passed it 10 – 0. There were no second reading amendments, but then it was defeated 41 to 53.
SB 339 – Salvage titles. Currently an insurance company is required to obtain a salvage title when the cost of repair exceeds 70% of the pre-damage value of the vehicle. This bill requires the company to obtain a salvage title when the company determines that it is “economically impractical” to repair the vehicle. Flood damaged vehicles are required to get salvage titles in all cases. A business that insures its own vehicles is required to get a salvage title when the damage exceeds 70% of pre-damage value. An owner is entitled to retain his or her vehicle where an insurance company completes a settlement on a vehicle that meets the salvage criteria. In cases of owner retention, the insurance company is required to apply for salvage title which will be issued to the owner.
SB 354 – forestry issues. Allows land to be classified as wildlands for purposes of property taxation. Requires a classified forest plantation to have at least 400
trees per acre. Requires a classified native forest land to have at
least 1,000 trees per acre. Removes the requirement that certain open
areas must be excluded from the classified land. Prohibits certain
nontimber crops from being cultivated on classified land. Establishes
procedures and requirements for revised applications for classified
lands. Establishes penalties for withdrawal from the classified land program. Provides that environmental impact statements do not apply to
forestry management practices of the division of forestry. Establishes
the forest restoration fund. Amends the definition of “merchantable
timber”. Provides that a county legislative body may allow more than
$1,000 to be distributed to volunteer fire departments from timber
sales. Repeals: (1) provisions concerning assessment of classified
lands; (2) the assessment of certain wildlife habitats; and (3) the prohibition of certain reclamation sites from enrolling in the
classified land program. Transfers land classified as wildlife habitats
to land classified as wildlands.
SB 379 – publication of administrative rules. Transfers duties of the secretary of state with respect to promulgation and preservation of paper copies of administrative rules to the publisher of the Indiana Register (the Office of Code Revision in the Legislative Services Agency acting under the direction of the Legislative Council.) Requires state agencies to submit documents for publication in the Indiana Register in an electronic format specified by the publisher. (Not so interesting side note: In my former capacity as deputy director in the Office of Code Revision, for a short time I was nominally the Revisor of Rules. Theoretically, I suppose, I had some oversight over the IAC and Register Staff. As a practical matter, they were so good at their job and I was so green that my “Revisor of Rules” duties didn’t amount to much.)