Wednesday, February 4, 2015

2015 Indiana General Assembly Child Custody and Support Bills

The 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly has produced few child custody or child well-being bills. Of those submitted I found none to be of major significance. Here I provide a list of the relevant bills with a synopsis of each. As I write about these particular bills I will link the following bill titles to those postings.

Bills originating in the House

1007 Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment
Prohibits a cap on a grant or contract amount under the domestic violence prevention and treatment program administered by the criminal justice institute. Makes a state general fund appropriation to the criminal justice institute for domestic violence prevention and treatment. Specifies that the appropriation is $5,000,000 for state fiscal year 2015-2016 and $5,000,000 for state fiscal year 2016-2017. (The 2013 budget act appropriated $2,500,000 each year).

1059 Delinquent Acts
Provides that it is a delinquent act if a child leaves a specific location designated by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian. Expands the crime of false informing to include false reporting of an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult. Expands the crime of assisting a criminal to include assisting a person who committed an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult. Expands the crime of interference with the reporting of a crime to include giving false information in an investigation of an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult.

1132 Juvenile Justice Evaluation Commission
Establishes the juvenile justice evaluation commission to: (1) evaluate the juvenile justice laws of Indiana; and (2) make recommendations to the general assembly for modification of the juvenile justice laws, if the commission determines that changes are necessary or appropriate.

1261 Terminating the Parent-Child Relationship
Allows a parent who is the victim of an act of rape from which a child was conceived to file a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship between the child and the alleged perpetrator of the act of rape. Requires a court to terminate the parent-child relationship if the court finds: (1) by clear and convincing evidence that the alleged perpetrator committed an act of rape against the parent who filed the petition to terminate the parent-child relationship and that the child was conceived as a result of the act of rape; and (2) that terminating the parent-child relationship would be in the best interests of the child

1342 Domestic Violence
Requires the criminal justice institute (institute) to compile information concerning crimes that involve domestic violence and submit the information to the National Incident-Based Reporting System maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Requires, instead of allows, the victim services division of the institute to make grants from the domestic violence prevention and treatment fund. Requires each county to establish and operate a domestic violence shelter in the county to assist victims of domestic violence in the county. Provides that, upon a finding of a violation of an order for protection concerning a victim of domestic or family violence, a court shall require the person who violated the order to wear a GPS tracking device. Requires a facility having custody of a person arrested for a crime of domestic violence to keep the person in custody for at least 24 hours instead of at least eight hours from the time of the person's arrest. Allows a sentencing court to consider as a mitigating factor the fact that a person who was convicted of: (1) a crime involving the use of force against another person; or (2) murdering another person; had been the victim of an act of domestic violence committed by the other person. Makes it a Class B misdemeanor for a person to knowingly or intentionally dismiss an employee, deprive an employee of employment benefits, or threaten such a dismissal or deprivation: (1) because the employee attended a court proceeding or participated in a law enforcement investigation related to a criminal case in which the employee is a crime victim or attended a court proceeding related to a civil case in which the employee is a victim of domestic or family violence; (2) because an order for protection has been issued on the employee's behalf; or (3) because the employee is a victim of family violence.

1348 Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence or Family Violence
Provides for up to 30 days of safe leave in a 12 month period for an employee to deal with issues related to domestic or family violence. Permits an employee to take unpaid safe leave for up to three consecutive days per absence. Provides that an employee accrues one day of paid safe leave for every 30 days worked, beginning on the ninety-first day after the employee's date of hire. Allows an employer to require documentation of an employee's eligibility for safe leave. Requires an employee to make a good faith effort to provide advance notice to the employer of the need for safe leave whenever the need is foreseeable. Provides that an employer shall not: (1) interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise any right related to safe leave; or (2) use an employee's taking of safe leave as a negative factor in an employment action. Provides that an employee may bring a civil action at law to enforce rights related to safe leave, and a circuit court may: (1) enjoin any act or practice that violates the chapter; and (2) order any other equitable relief that is just and proper. Requires every employer to post in a conspicuous place a notice describing the right to safe leave.

1365 Marijuana Penalties
Provides that a person who possesses at least five pounds of marijuana, or at least 150 grams of hash oil, hashish, or salvia, may be convicted of possession with intent to deliver even if the only evidence of intent is the amount of the drug involved.

1370 Department of Child Services
Provides that appropriations designated for use by the department of child services do not revert to the state general fund and may not be transferred to other funds. Establishes the department of child services education and performance fund to encourage employees to seek advanced degrees in a field related to child well-being. Establishes the department of child services professional development fund to encourage department employees to attend professional development courses in an area related to the purpose of the department. Creates a tax credit for certain employees who attend professional development courses.

1379 Child Abuse Training
Requires:(1) child care providers that receive reimbursement vouchers; (2) public schools, including charter schools; and (3) nonpublic schools that receive choice scholarship students; to provide training to staff concerning the recognition of the warning signs that a child is being abused.

1482 Office of Marriage Promotion
Establishes the office of marriage promotion (office) and the office of marriage promotion fund. Provides that the goal of the office is to increase the number of children born to married parents and that the office shall promote the following ideas: (1) Children born to married parents are more likely to better develop academically and socially. (2) Children born to married parents are more likely to be physically and emotionally healthier. (3) Children born into single parent households are more likely to live in poverty, commit crimes, commit suicide, use illegal drugs and tobacco, drop out of school, be an unemployed adult, and be incarcerated.

1522 Juvenile Placement
Provides that the department of child services is responsible for payment of expenses for housing or services for the benefit of a child placed by a juvenile court in a home or facility located outside Indiana.

1528 Right to jury in certain administrative proceedings
Provides that a person seeking judicial review of the final revocation of a professional license has the right to a jury trial.

1534 Domestic Battery Enhancement
Raises the enhancement for domestic battery from a Level 6 felony to a Level 5 felony.

Bills originating in the Senate

0018 Grandparent and Great-Grandparent Visitation
Allows great-grandparents to seek visitation rights with their great-grandchildren in certain circumstances. Allows a grandparent or great-grandparent to seek visitation if the grandparent or great-grandparent has had meaningful contact with the child but, as a result of an estrangement between the parent of the child and the grandparent or great-grandparent, the parent of the child terminated the child's visits with the grandparent or great-grandparent. Establishes factors for the court to consider in determining whether granting a grandparent or great-grandparent visitation rights is in the best interests of the child. Provides that a court may order a party to an action for grandparent or great-grandparent visitation to pay a reasonable amount for the cost to the other party of maintaining or defending the action, including costs for attorney's fees and mediation. Specifies that certain agencies are not required to pay costs. Makes conforming changes.

0106 Child Support and Credit Reports
Prohibits a prosecuting attorney or Title IV-D agency from reporting a person's child support payment plan arrearage to a consumer reporting agency if the person is less than five weeks in arrears. Provides that if a person has made all payments required under a child support payment plan for at least six months, the prosecuting attorney, deputy prosecuting attorney, or Title IV-D agency shall: (1) contact the consumer reporting agency to update the person's payment information; and (2) upon request, submit a statement from the person that a payment plan has been established and the person is complying with the payment plan.

0263 Physical Education
Requires each public school and charter school to conduct at least 30 minutes of physical education each day for students, which may be done as part of a class activity. Lengthens the minimum school day by 30 minutes. Requires each school corporation and charter school to: (1) report certain student health data for students in grades 1, 6, and 12 to the state department of health beginning in the 2015-2016 school year; and (2) inform the students' parents of the collection of the data and the right to obtain the data. Requires the state department of health to: (1) develop materials for the school corporation to distribute concerning body mass index; and (2) publish an annual report summarizing the data collected by the school corporations. Requires the state department of health and the state board of education to adopt joint rules to implement these provisions.

0324 Various Child Support Matters
Makes various changes to family and juvenile law concerning the following: (1) Parties entitled to file a paternity action.(2) Petitions for child support.(3) Petitions for adoption.(4) Adoption decrees. (5) Duties of the child support bureau. (6) Costs of services for children and payments of child support. Repeals the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act currently in effect and replaces it with an updated version of the act.

0345 Residential Status for College Tuition Purposes
Provides that an individual, except for certain nonimmigrants, who: (1) attends a high school in Indiana for at least three years; (2) registers as an entering student at or is currently enrolled in a state educational institution not earlier than the fall semester (or its equivalent, as determined by the state educational institution) of the 2015-2016 academic year; and (3) graduated from a high school located in Indiana or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Indiana; is eligible for the resident tuition rate. Requires such an individual to verify that the individual meets the criteria to receive the resident tuition rate.

If I have missed any related bills or if there is one in particular that you would like for me to review please contact me and provide the bill number.

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