Indiana Legislative Update – January 12, 2024

The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian:

Guardians ad litem in adoption

January 12, 2024 Filed Under: Family

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 16 authored by Sen. Bohacek and Sen. Alting on guardians ad litem in adoption.  This bill requires a court to appoint a guardian ad litem in an adoption proceeding if a parent of the child has an intellectual disability and is subject to a guardianship.  The bill was amended by consent to establish a pilot guardian ad litem program for this purpose in LaPorte County, Marshall County, and Starke County.

The Indiana Public Defender Council testified in support of the bill.  The amended bill passed 11-0. 

Read the bill at  https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2024/bills/senate/16

Age verification for material harmful to minors

January 12, 2024 Filed Under: Civil, Criminal

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 17 authored by Sen. Bohacek and Sen. Deery on age verification for material harmful to minors. This bill:

  • requires an adult oriented website operator that displays material harmful to minors to use a reasonable age verification method to prevent a minor from accessing an adult oriented website. 
  • creates a cause of action to permit: (1) the parent or guardian of a child harmed by a violation of the age verification requirement to obtain monetary damages, injunctive relief, and reasonable attorney’s fees; and (2) any other person to bring an action to obtain injunctive relief and reasonable attorney’s fees. 
  • prohibits a person that conducts age verification from retaining the identifying information of an individual seeking to access an adult oriented website that displays material harmful to minors and permits an individual whose identifying information is retained to bring an action to obtain monetary damages, injunctive relief, and reasonable attorney’s fees. 
  • provides that an adult oriented website operator who knowingly or intentionally publishes an adult oriented website without using a reasonable age verification method commits allowing a child to access Internet pornography, a Class A misdemeanor, and increases the penalty to a Level 6 felony for a prior conviction or violation. 

The bill was amended by consent to provide exceptions to the definition of “adult oriented website operator” including a newspaper or news service, a cloud service provider, and an internet provider or search engine.

The ACLU of Indiana testified in opposition to the bill. The American Family Association of Indiana testified in support. The amended bill passed 10-0.

Read the bill at https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2024/bills/senate/17

Various probate matters

January 12, 2024 Filed Under: Probate

 The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 18 authored by Sen. Liz Brown on various probate matters.  This bill:

  • expands the definition of a health care representative.
  • creates a procedure to transfer the interest of certain single member, limited liability companies to a legatee or heir of the member upon the member’s death.
  • requires an affiant to send a copy of certain affidavits concerning a small estate to the estate recovery unit of the office of Medicaid policy and planning (unit).
  • requires a fiduciary to send a copy of a verified statement concerning the closing of a decedent’s estate to the unit if the decedent was at least 55 years of age at the time of death and if a notice of estate administration was not previously served upon the unit.
  • provides that a claim against a decedent’s estate by the unit is forever barred if the unit fails to take certain actions within a specified period of time. 
  • provides that a personal representative or a trustee is not required to distribute particular assets based upon the potential gain or loss that a distributee would realize if the assets were sold. 
  • provides that a document creating a power of attorney that does not contain a notary and preparation statement may be recorded with the county recorder if the document meets certain criteria. 
  • provides signature formats for an attorney in fact to use when signing an instrument on behalf of a principal.
  • provides recording requirements when including cross-references to a previously recorded document.
  • defines a “qualified real property order” and creates a new form of recordable affidavit and creates a qualified real property order to provide missing legal descriptions and tax parcel identification numbers for real property that is transferred or divided. It also provides a process for filing and recording the affidavit and a qualified real property order. 
  • requires the endorsement of the county auditor to record a transfer on death deed and instrument. 
  • specifies who an owner may designate as a grantee in a beneficiary designation instrument. 
  • clarifies the form and scope of a transfer on death instrument. 
  • makes conforming and technical changes. 

The bill was amended by consent to provide:

  • discretion to the probate court to order that a convicted felon may serve as a personal representative.
  • that certain provisions in a will or revocable trust in favor of the testator’s or trust settlor’s former spouse are revoked upon dissolution or annulment of the marriage. 
  • that a verified petition for the issuance of a confidential health disclosure order must state whether the alleged incapacitated person cannot provide or has refused to provide written authorization for disclosure of certain medical information.

The Indiana State Bar Association Probate, Trust, and Real Property Section testified in support of the bill. The amended bill passed 11-0. Read the bill at  https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2024/bills/senate/18

Representation of caregiver in CHINS cases

January 12, 2024 Filed Under: Juvenile

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 40 authored by Sen. Bohacek on representation of caregiver in CHINS cases.  The bill provides that an unlicensed caregiver is entitled to representation by counsel in a child in need of services (CHINS) proceeding under certain circumstances. The bill was amended by consent to establish a pilot program for this purpose in LaPorte County, Marshall County, and Starke County.

Judge Faith Graham on behalf of the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges testified in opposition to the bill.  The Public Defender Commission testified about the fiscal impact of the amendment.  The amended bill passed 11-0 and will be recommitted to Senate Appropriations.

Read the bill at  https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2024/bills/senate/40

Computer generated intimate images

January 12, 2024 Filed Under: Criminal

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1047 authored by Rep. Negele on computer generated intimate images. The bill adds the term computer generated intimate image to the definition of an intimate image in Ind. Code § 35-45-4-8 to establish the distribution of an intimate image crime.  

Rep. Negele offered an amendment to ensure the distribution of money to victims of the Boy Scouts bankruptcy case, which was further amended to declare an emergency for this provision. The amendment was adopted by consent. The Indiana Prosecuting Attorney Council testified in support of the bill educating the committee on the significance of this problem.  The Indiana Public Defender Council testified in opposition to the bill citing First Amendment concerns. The amended bill passed 10-0.                    

Read the bill at: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2024/bills/house/1047/

Rate this post

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Bloomingtonian on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!