Legislators to finish session this week

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

The Indiana General Assembly is in its final session week.

By law, the short session must end by Saturday. But State Rep. Shane Lindauer, R-Jasper, and State Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, are expecting the session to wrap up in three days, on Wednesday.

“If things go really well, it’s possible to be done in two,” Messmer said. “But I’m pretty sure that three is what we’ve got.”

Conference committees started working on bills last week. These are the bills that were passed by both the House and Senate, but the House version and Senate version were slightly different from each other. The conference committee for each bill will hash out details and come to an agreement on one version of the bill that will need to be approved again by both chambers.

Lindauer has two bills that are going to a conference committee. One is a floodway bill concerning properties along bodies of waters and the rights of the people who own those properties. His bill was joined with another similar bill. However, that bill also deals with Lake Michigan, which is why it will now go to a conference committee.

The other bill is about allowing a person to make an anatomical gift with a resident hunting, fishing, or trapping license. “There is some language in there that may not be germane to the underlying bill,” Lindauer said. And so we may need to work on that, to see if that needs to come out and go somewhere else.”

Messmer does not have any bills in conference committee. “With all my bills, I made sure that I knew what was happening with them in the House,” he said. “They ended up to a point where I can just concur to the changes and present them to the fellow senators and be done.”

His two final bills did have some adjustments made to them, but they passed through last week.

One provides more protections to child abuse victims going through the deposition process by a defense attorney.

“It gives child victims protection from being interrogated by a defense attorney,” Messmer said.

The judge sets the parameters for the deposition instead of the defense attorney having unrestricted access to the child victim. The judge can also determine that the defense has enough evidence and will not be allowed to do the deposition.

“As we worked through the [bill] process, we decided that instead of amending the existing statute,” Messmer said, “we deleted the old section and wrote a new section with everything logically pieced together so that it was easier to follow.”

The other bill he concurred to changes for was one that would change the process for minors to get work permits. It will now be done through the Indiana Department of Labor and the process will be online.

“It gives the Department of Labor the data they need to follow up with which places have minors employed,” Messmer said. “All the identifying information will be given to the Department of Labor right out of the gate. So they will know who to inspect and what records to look for.”

Messmer is serving on three conference committees. One committee will look at the bill that streamlines the procedures for people who are licensed in another state to get a license in Indiana.

Another committee will work on the House bill concerning utility companies alerting the Indiana Utility Regulatory Committee if they are going to close a power plant. “That bill was amended in the Senate,” Messmer said, “but the House sponsor wanted to add some dates in and add some oversight definitions back into it.”

His third conference committee will be over the bill about legislators being a notary. “I think [legislators were[ looking for a germane bill to put other language in,” Messmer said. “But I don’t know what is going to be asked to be put in that bill.”

Legislators start working again today.




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