State Rep. Bell: An update from the Statehouse

An e-mail update from State Representative Matt Bell:

An Update from the Statehouse

We are closing in on the halfway mark for the 2010 legislative session. Last Thursday was the final day for committee reports to be adopted. When a bill passes out of committee, a report on the committee’s action must be adopted by the House before it can be heard on second reading or third reading by the entire House. 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. I co-authored a bill to assist firefighters and police officers with the designation of their disability benefits. I also supported two bills that protect Hoosiers’ gun rights. Here are a few more details about last week’s session:

House Bill (HB) 1050—Firefighters and Police Officers 1977 Pension and Disability Fund
HB 1050 passed out of the House by a vote of 97-0. The bill allows firefighters and police officers to designate one or more beneficiaries to receive the 1977 fund contributions plus interest. There are two stipulations: First, the fund member dies without receiving retirement and disability benefits. Second, no spouse, child or parent is entitled to receive survivor benefits.

The practical application of this bill is that there are a few firefighters and police officers who pass away and leave no spouse or child behind. The law currently would not allow fund contributions made by the deceased in that situation to be assigned to anyone. Instead, those contributions would roll back into the fund. Under the terms of this bill, fire fighters and police officers will have the reassurance of knowing that their benefits can be assigned to the individual of their choice.

House Bill 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 and universities.

Law abiding gun owners should not have their 2nd amendment rights infringed upon 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.

If licensed gun owners have been approved through all of the required background checks then they deserve to have their personal information kept private. Additionally, 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 do not possess a firearm.

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