The Indiana General Assembly adjourned sine die on April 24, 2019, five days ahead of the statutory deadline for the end of session. 1349 bills were filed, with a total of 292 enacted.
ICADV procured an alteration of the general fund appropriation of $5 million per year, to permit these domestic violence funds to now be used for rehabilitation of shelters. We had also requested a new $250,000/year matching appropriation under IHCDA for the housing needs of domestic violence survivors. However, in February, IHCDA received a $2 million federal grant from HUD to support housing stability and safety for survivors of domestic violence, and our state appropriation was not added to the state budget. Hopefully IHCDA will leverage other funds in its existing budget to provide the necessary match for the $2 million federal housing grant.
An unusually high number of bills impacting protective orders were moving throughout the session, and ICADV worked on all of them. SB 551 was amended to remove language very broadly authorizing new protective order filings, and now more narrowly targets its objective: allowing a parent, guardian or other representative to file for a protective order against an adult who is sexually grooming a child through repeated or continued contact. SB 551 also adds strangulation conviction as an offense enhancing the penalty for domestic battery, which was supported by ICADV.
Similarly, HB 1607 was filed as a bill broadly allowing a new class of protective orders to combat bullying. Over the course of session it was much more narrowly structured to allow orders for repeated and continuing harassment causing emotional distress, without ex parte orders being authorized.
A third protective order bill passed which still contains troubling provisions: SB 235. ICADV testified with concerns and worked with both the Senate author and House sponsor. As passed, this bill permits expungements of protective orders which have been dismissed, without any waiting period, without any limit on the number of expungements, and without any discretion afforded to the Judge. This issue is likely to be reviewed over the summer as part of an overall consideration of Indiana’s system of protective orders by the Indiana State Bar.
ICADV was also an active member of the broad coalition of faith groups, veterans, social service organizations and community groups opposing SB 613, the bill which would have dramatically expanded payday and other high cost lending, allowing rates over double the current felony loan sharking cap. SB 613 finally died, for the fourth year in a row, this time because the House could not rally enough votes to support the bill on third reading, despite protracted efforts to do so.
Another good result was passage of HB 1651, a bill that now prohibits a “dangerous person” from legally acquiring or carrying a firearm, for which ICADV testified. Unfortunately, another bill supported by ICADV, HB 440, died in the final weeks after not receiving a hearing in the House Ways and Means committee. HB 440 would have modestly increased eligibility and benefit levels for TANF recipients for the first time in decades.
Summaries of these bills, and many others of interest to ICADV members, are listed here. For further details relating to any of these pieces of legislation, click here, and click on the bill number.