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Criminal background checks bill passes House

Thursday, March 2, 2006

State Rep. Andy Thomas (R-Brazil) is the co-sponsor of Senate Bill 47 (SB 47), which exempts certain organizations from the fee for conducting criminal background checks. SB 47 passed the House last week by a unanimous vote of 92-0.

SB 47 would preclude groups such as the council for a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop, seniors programs, churches, and other religious organizations from paying the fee charged for criminal background checks on a prospective or current employee or a volunteer. The primary purpose of this bill is to protect children participating in these organizations from dangerous persons. The current fee that is charged for a criminal background check on an individual is $30.

"It is important that we do anything and everything we can to ensure that Indiana 's children are protected, that is why I am sponsoring this bill," said Thomas. "These organizations are non-profit and the money that they raise is meant to go towards funding programs and activities for the enrichment of their members. These programs and activities should not suffer because the organization has to put that money towards criminal background checks to ensure the safety of children."

Self-defense bill passes

House Bill 1028, co-sponsored by State Sen. John Waterman (R-Shelburn), passed out of the Senate last week by a vote of 44-5.

The bill makes regulations concerning self-defense and the use of deadly force in certain situations.

HB 1028 justifies reasons for people to use deadly force in situations where it is necessary for survival and self defense. A person may use deadly force, but they do not have to retreat if the person is in a situation where force is necessary to prevent bodily injury to the person, another person in the room, or the commission of a forcible felony. Reasonable force, including deadly force is also justifiable if it is necessary to prevent or stop the other person's illegal entry or attack on the person's home, land, or occupied motor vehicle.

"This bill is to help Hoosiers in defending themselves and not having to back down if they so desire," Waterman said. "The bill will particularly help those in motor vehicles."

HB 1028 adds new definitions to current Indiana Code. Currently, the code does not mention motor vehicles. The bill now contains this language to allow people to use self defense and also be allowed to possess a loaded or unloaded handgun or an unloaded rifle or shotgun that is locked in the individual's car and is within the individual's property at anytime.

The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Waterman represents Senate District 39, which includes Sullivan County, as well as portions of Knox, Daviess, Greene, Owen, Clay and Vigo Counties.

Senate approves property tax bill

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Senate approved a property tax relief bill Wednesday night -- but because its provisions are substantially different from a House-passed version the legislation will likely end up in late-session negotiations as lawmakers seek a compromise.

Senators voted 37-12 to approve the bill, which would provide tax relief to some homeowners and allow local governments to raise local income taxes higher in order to reduce their reliance on property taxes.

The bill now goes back to the House for consideration of the Senate's changes. If the House does not agree completely with the Senate bill, the legislation would head to a conference committee where lawmakers would work to resolve differences between the competing bills.

"There will be some changes here," said Sen. Lindel Hume, D-Princeton.

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