As I mentioned awhile back the Indianapolis business community is certainly unrepresented in Mitch Daniels appointments. Today we have Thomas Sharp as the head of INDOT. He is an Alcoa retiree and owner of Indianapolis rental properties according to the Indy Star.
Synopsis: Holocaust education course. Beginning with the 2005-2006 school year, requires each school corporation to include a study of the Holocaust as a part of the social studies curriculum.
I hope social studies programs do teach kids about the Holocaust, but I really don’t like the idea of the General Assembly getting this specific about the curriculum.
Introduced Version, House Bill 1045 This bill requires insurers to notify the BMV if a person’s policy is cancelled before the policy expiration date. The BMV is then required to revoke the person’s operator’s license if they don’t jump through some hoops proving their renewed financial responsibility.
I understand the problem it’s intended to address. Lots of people register their vehicle with a binder or other proof of insurance that doesn’t require they pay the full period in advance. Then they don’t pay their premium and keep driving. Then they get into an accident and can’t pay for the damage they caused. However, I don’t know that this approach will be especially effective. And woe to the person who wrongfully gets snarled in the BMV bureaucracy under this system.
Finally, the proper penalty should probably go to the registration of the vehicle. I am not sure on this point. (In fact, I think there is some question under Indiana law on this point.) But, I think insurance follows the vehicle more than it follows the driver. Seems like a person should be able to have a license without having their own vehicle and still be able to drive another person’s vehicle, provided that they are driving with the permission of the vehicle’s owner and thereby covered by that person’s insurance. That would not be possible under this system.
Introduced Version, Senate Bill 0148 Provides that an auto insurance company can’t use adverse information contained in an individual’s credit report or that of a spouse, family member or other named insured as a rating factor.
Maybe there are strong public policy reasons against using credit information in this fashion, but it seems to me that if there happens to be a strong correlation between bad credit ratings and high claim payouts, the insurance company ought to be able to use that information to assess its risk and adjust its premiums accordingly.
Speed limit on section of U.S. 20. Increases the speed limit on a section of U.S. 20 located in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.
I guess I don’t object to the idea of a 65 mph speed limit on U.S. 20 from the intersection of U.S. 20 and County Road 17 in Elkhart County to the intersection of U.S. 20 and State Road 331 in St. Joseph County. However, the structure of this legislation certainly reeks of special legislation which the Indiana Constitution prohibits and the Supreme Court has been looking down upon recently. The section of the Indiana Code provides:
One of these things is not like the others.
Synopsis: Confined feeding operations. Requires the department of environmental management to revoke the approval for a confined feeding operation if at least three violations of confined feeding or water pollution control laws occur at the confined feeding operation in any two year period. Prohibits the department from waiving certain civil penalties for violations of confined feeding laws.
Seems like there was a particular confined feeding operation that fits this description a year or two back. I wonder if they got off with a slap on the wrist.
From the “this will cost more money in paperwork than it saves” Department, SB 119 proposes an annual report and audit of unpaid restitution orders owed to government entities. It makes explicit the authority to demand that the debtor show cause and for the court to hold the debtor in contempt. I imagine the intent of this bill is to increase revenues for government entities without raising taxes. However, most folks who owe criminal restitution simply don’t have any money. Putting them in jail on a contempt order isn’t going to save any money. On the upside, maybe they’ll farm out the collections work to guys like me on a contingency basis. If you hound these guys for 5-10 years, occasionally you get lucky. The government isn’t set up to make that kind of extended effort. I am.
Check out all the information the report has to have:
(This bill introduced by Mr. Van, that’s his name, that name again is Mr. Van. Err, Mrvan.)
Bifurcated sentencing. Allows a court to impose a sentence greater than the presumptive sentence only if: (1) the state proves the existence of an aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt; or (2) the defendant has one or more prior unrelated convictions.
I believe this proposed legislation is Indiana’s answer to the Supreme Court’s Blakely decision that has the federal sentencing structure in such a mess. My understanding is that Indiana didn’t really have a problem with its current structure. Maybe this is a “better safe than sorry” approach. Or, maybe my assumptions are wrong.
Introduced Version, Senate Bill 0099 The synopsis:
Criminal code general purpose statement. Provides that the criminal code must be founded on the principle of reformation, not vindictive justice, and establishes the means and goals to be considered in establishing criminal penalties and imposing sentences. Specifies that these provisions do not create a cause of action or supersede any statute, and may not be used in litigation to obtain any form of relief.
I always hated drafting “purpose statements” when I worked for the General Assembly. They don’t do a darn thing — a point which is thankfully spelled out in this particular statement — an often times they create confusion. The casual statutory reader thinks that the purpose statement has the force of law. But, the purpose statements are only an opinion of sorts. And, as we all know, opinions are like certain anatomical features in that everyone has one. Future General Assemblies, or even the current one, can just ignore this provision. It doesn’t mean a thing until you tie a penalty or other enforcement mechanism to it.
(Oh, and just for those who may not be aware, the business about the criminal code being founded on the principle of reformation, not vindictive justice is lifted from the Indiana Constitution and reflects the Enlightenment values of the drafters of the mid 19th century. I doubt our current crop of legislators would come up with such bleeding-heart language if left to their own devices.)
Introduced Version, Senate Bill 0076 — LSA’s synopsis:
Abortion requirements. Requires a health care provider to provide a pregnant woman with information regarding the availability of ultrasound imaging and auscultation of heart tones of a fetus before performing an abortion on the pregnant woman. Allows a pregnant
woman to view the fetal ultrasound imaging and hear the auscultation of the fetal heart tone before an abortion is performed.
It’s essentially an approach that tries to guilt the woman out of having an abortion. Note that there is no effort to inform the woman about the effect of the pregnancy on her body or the life the child is likely to lead if it is unwanted, the woman cannot afford to properly take care of the child, and it comes to term. Dennis Miller said something about taking the right-to-lifers more seriously if so many of them weren’t cross-enrolled in the NRA. He also mentioned not supporting a right to life with no rights.