IN State Representative Pond: An update from the Statehouse

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E-mail update from State Representative Phyllis Pond (3rd-R):

An Update from the Statehouse

(February 1, 2010) We are closing in on the halfway mark for the 2010 legislative session. Last Thursday was the deadline for committee reports to be adopted. In order for a bill to be heard in the House, the committee report must be adopted. Now that the deadline has passed, no new bills will be heard in committee until the bills switch chambers and we begin hearing Senate bills.

Needless to say, this past week was very busy and several important pieces of legislation passed through the House. There were two bills that protect Hoosiers’ gun rights and a bill that gives grandparents visitation rights. Here are a few more details about last week’s session:

House Bill (HB) 1065—Various Provisions Concerning Firearms
HB 1065 passed out of the House by a vote of 76-21. HB 1065 prohibits a business or government entity from adopting or enforcing a policy that restricts a licensed gun owner from possessing their firearm in the individual’s locked vehicle on the property of that business or government entity.

Certain places of business were granted exceptions such as schools, child care facilities, shelter facilities or universities.

Law abiding gun owners should not have their 2nd amendment rights interfered with if they have complied with all of the requirements under federal and state law.

House Bill 1068—Access to Handgun License Information
HB 1068 passed out of the House by a vote of 85-11. This legislation resulted from various newspapers across the state releasing a database of addresses of licensed gun owners in the state of Indiana. The bill would make indentifying information relating to licensed gun owners confidential and not open to public inspection.

The bill passed for several reasons. First, if licensed gun owners have been approved through all of the required background checks then they deserve to have their personal information kept private. Second, I think making this information public could create unforeseen public safety issues, such as increasing the chances of criminals being able to purposefully target homes where individuals didn’t have a firearm.

House Bill 1055— Grandparent and Great-Grandparent Visitation
I voted last week to help pass an important bill to do with grandparents’ rights, which passed out of the House by a vote of 63-33.

This bill would improve visitation rights for grandparents and great-grandparents in cases of estrangement.

Currently, grandparents have no legal standing in court and no rights to a child. HB1055 will change that.

In some cases, grandparents who have brought up a grandchild have been cut off from that child because of a trivial argument with the child’s parent or parents. They have to spend their days scouring the community paper for any news about their grandchildren, instead of having a meaningful relationship.

I believe if a grandparent or great-grandparent is a good influence on the grandchild, they should be able to ask the court for the right to visit that child, regardless of whether they are on good terms with one or both parents.

The measure does nothing to steer around parental rights, but instead instructs courts on how to determine what would be in the best interests of the child.

Stay Up to Date on Session and Legislative Issues
To follow the proceedings of the Indiana General Assembly visit www.in.gov/legislative and click on “Watch Indiana General Assembly Live.”

To track legislation visit www.in.gov/legislative and under Session Information you will be able to follow bills by bill number or subject matter.

1 COMMENT

  1. This victory for grandparents’ rights is great but there is still a long way to go. According to IC 31-17-5 if the parents are married and still living together there is no recourse for filing for visitation. Just because this is considered an “intact family” does not change that the fact that the children are being punished by being kept from their grandparents. In my opinion if a parent uses their own child as a pawn in their twisted game of revenge that would make them unfit, but the legal system does not agree. If they can feed, house and clothe the children then there is no problem, never mind the fact that family members are important to a child’s well-being.

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