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Office of the Indiana Attorney General

Attorney General > Office Initiatives > Legislative Agenda Legislative Agenda

In the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller proposes, recommends or supports legislation that protects the public and consumers. The Attorney General’s legislative team attends committee hearings and floor votes of the Indiana House of Representatives and Indiana Senate. The team testifies at hearings and works to inform legislators about the impact on Hoosiers that bills would have if they become law. Deputy Attorney General David Miller and Deputy Attorney General Matt Light lead the legislative team. The following are bills proposed, recommended or supported by the Attorney General, who also serves as co-chair of the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force.

Senate Enrolled Act 227 – Lifeline Law expansion and Naloxone

In 2012, at the urging of university students the Legislature passed the original Lifeline Law.  It encourages young people to call 911 if someone is suffering alcohol poisoning and makes the caller immune from criminal charges related to underage drinking.  This year, a proposed expansion to the Lifeline Law would extend the immunity from prosecution if underage callers seek help for other types of medical emergencies such as concussions, or are a victim of a sexual assault, or witness and report a crime.

Attorney General Zoeller has promoted awareness at college campuses of the original Lifeline Law with the law’s author, State Sen. Jim Merritt.  The Attorney General also supported an amendment to SEA 227 that encourages first responders – including law enforcement and firefighters -- to be equipped with Naloxone, a medication that counteracts the effects of an opioid drug overdose.  That amendment removes legal barriers to first responders utilizing the antidote to save patients’ lives. SEA 227 also authorizes a legislative study of crimes of sexual violence against children.

Bill Status:  Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee, passed 9-0 out of committee Jan. 22; amended Jan. 27 on second reading in the full Senate; passed 49-0 on third reading on Jan. 28; moved to Indiana House.  Assigned to House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, amended and passed 12-0 out of committee Feb. 12, moved to full Indiana House, amended on second reading Feb. 18, passed the House 96-0 on third reading on Feb. 26; returned to the Senate for concurrence or conference committee. Senate concurred 40-0 on House changes March 6; bill sent to Governor’s desk. Governor signed bill into law March 26.

 

Senate Enrolled Act 291 – Human Trafficking Case Coordination

Prior to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, the Legislature at Attorney General Zoeller’s recommendation passed a new human trafficking statute, so that prosecutors could criminally charge those who facilitate organized commercial prostitution through coercion of sexual abuse victims.  SEA 291, an update to the human trafficking law, clarifies that the Attorney General’s Office has the same authority as a law enforcement agency to access and maintain information about human trafficking investigations and assist in prosecution of violations.  The Attorney General is co-chair of the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH) task force.

Bill Status:  Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee, passed 6-0 out of committee Jan. 23; passed 49-0 on third reading in the full Senate on Jan. 28; moves to Indiana House.  Assigned to House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, passed 9-0 out of committee on Feb. 24, moved to full Indiana House, passed 92-0 without amendments in full House on Feb. 27; sent to Governor’s desk. Governor signed bill into law March 26.

 

Senate Enrolled Act 394 – Consumer Protection

The Attorney General’s Office’s Consumer Protection Division investigates thousands of consumer complaints about businesses each year.  The office uses a type of subpoena called a civil investigative demand (CID) to obtain information from businesses and determine how consumer complaints should be resolved.  To strengthen the office’s ability to investigate complaints involving nonresidents and foreign corporations outside Indiana, SEA 394 includes some enforcement provisions for individuals or companies that ignore CIDs and do not comply and respond with the subpoenaed information, including fines.  The bill makes other technical changes.  The Attorney General’s Office already offers a free “security freeze” to consumers to protect their credit record against identity theft.  For those considered “protected consumers” (children under 16 or incapacitated adults) who are also at risk of having their identities stolen, SEA 394 makes it easier for their representative (such as a parent or guardian) to protect their identity by obtaining a security freeze on their behalf.

Bill Status:  Assigned to Senate Civil Law Committee, passed committee 8-1 on Jan. 27, amended on second reading in the Senate Jan. 30, passed on third reading 48-0 in the Senate on Feb. 3, advanced to Indiana House.  Assigned to House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development, passed committee 11-0 on Feb. 12, amended on second reading in the full House on Feb. 18, passed Indiana House 96-1 on Feb. 24, returned as amended to Senate.  Senate concurred 41-0 on House changes; bill sent to Governor’s desk. Governor signed bill into law March 25.

 

House Enrolled Act 1360 – Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Professionals

According to the State Department of Health, Indiana has a shortage of mental health professionals and addiction treatment professionals practicing within the state.  HEA 1360 seeks to encourage more of these professionals to practice in Indiana.  The bill would offer up to five years of student loan forgiveness grants to psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, addiction counselors and mental health professionals who are pursuing addiction training in behavioral health and addiction psychiatry, provided they practice their specialty within Indiana.

Bill Status:  Assigned to House Public Health Committee, passed 10-0 on Jan. 21; passed 93-0 on third reading in the full Indiana House; moves to the Senate.  Assigned to Senate Health and Provider Services Committee; passed 11-0 out of committee on Feb. 26; passed 48-0 on third reading in full Senate on March 5; returned to House for concurrence or conference committee. House concurred 86-0 on Senate amendments March 5; bill sent to Governor’s desk. Governor signed bill into law March 25.

 

House Enrolled Act 1218 – INSPECT Database

The Indiana Scheduled Prescription Electronic Collection and Tracking Program, or INSPECT, is a database the state has operated for several years that tracks the dispensing of certain addictive controlled substances in order to deter prescription drug abuse.  So that the database is updated in a timely manner, pharmacists would be required to provide dispensing information to INSPECT on certain opioid drugs – within three days, starting January 1, 2015, and within 24 hours, starting July 1, 2015.  A recommendation of the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, HEA 1218 would also include additional privacy protections to ensure the confidentiality of patients’ prescription records.

Bill Status:  Assigned to House Public Health Committee, passed 10-0 out of committee on Jan. 21; passed 95-0 on third reading in the full House on Jan. 30; moves to the Senate. Assigned to Senate Health and Provider Services Committee; passed 11-0 out of committee Feb. 26; amended on second reading in the full Senate on March 3; passed 48-0 on third reading in full Senate on March 5; bill returned to House for concurrence or conference committee. House adopted conference committee report 97-0 on March 12; Senate adopted conference committee report 46-0 on March 13; bill sent to Governor’s desk. Governor signed bill into law March 25.

 

Senate Enrolled Act 408 – Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Study

The Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force reviewed the problem of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or NAS, where a newborn exposed to prescription or illicit drugs while in the womb suffers from withdrawal symptoms including respiratory complications, low birth weight, feeding difficulties and seizures.  SEA 408 establishes a standard clinical definition of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and directs the Indiana State Department of Health to meet with various medical and pediatric stakeholders, to develop recommendations regarding diagnosis and screening and reporting of statistics of NAS that will be presented to the Legislative Council no later than November 1, 2014.  SEA 408 also allows ISDH before June 1, 2015, to establish pilot programs with hospitals to put the NAS recommendations into practice.

Bill Status:  Assigned to Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services; passed 12-0 out of committee Jan. 29; passed 47-0 on third reading in the full Senate on Feb. 4, moved to Indiana House.  Assigned to House Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs; amended and passed 11-0 out of committee on Feb. 24; amended on second reading Feb. 26 in the full Indiana House; passed as amended 98-0 on third reading in the House on March 3; returned to the Senate for concurrence or conference committee.  House adopted conference committee report 98-0 on March 12; Senate adopted conference committee report 46-0 on March 13; bill sent to Governor’s desk. Governor signed bill into law March 25.

 

Senate Enrolled Act 349 – Telephone Solicitations

Indiana’s Do Not Call list, operated by the Attorney General’s Office, now has more than 2.3 million phone numbers registered by Hoosiers who do not want to be pestered with nuisance sales calls.  Recently there have been issues with companies circumventing or evading the Do Not Call law by attempting to solicit using third-party solicitors.  SEA 349 will update the statute to apply to both suppliers in consumer transactions and sellers engaging in telephone solicitations, to prohibit them from calling numbers registered on the Do Not Call list.

Bill Status:  Assigned to Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Technology; passed 6-0 out of committee Jan. 24, passed 46-0 on third reading in the full Senate on Jan. 30; moves to the Indiana House.  Assigned to House Judiciary Committee, passed 8-0 out of committee on Feb. 24, amended on second reading in full Indiana House on Feb. 26; passed 96-0 on third reading in the House on March 3; returned to the Senate for concurrence or conference committee. House adopted conference committee report 98-0 on March 12; Senate adopted conference committee report 45-0 on March 13; bill sent to Governor’s desk. Governor signed bill into law March 25.

 

Senate Concurrent Resolution 16 – FCC and Telemarketing Calls

Attorney General Zoeller also recommends the Legislature adopt a joint resolution, SCR-16, to be sent to the Federal Communications Commission, urging that agency to more aggressively regulate telemarketing calls and robocalls that often violate Hoosiers’ telephone privacy, including practices such as Caller ID spoofing. 

Resolution Status: Assigned to Senate Commerce, Economic Development and Technology Committee, passed 6-0 out of committee Feb. 24; moved to full Senate. Passed the Senate by voice vote on March 3; moved to Indiana House. House adopted by voice vote on March 5; concurrent resolution is passed and will be sent by Senate to FCC.

 

Senate Enrolled Act 208:  Unclaimed Property

Operated by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, the state’s Unclaimed Property program returned to Hoosiers a record $60 million last year in financial assets such as forgotten bank accounts, unpaid insurance proceeds, unreturned security deposits and unused store credits.  More than $400 million in unclaimed property is held in safe keeping by the program so it can be returned to Hoosiers. Claimants can check for property by visiting http://www.indianaunclaimed.gov/, and the Attorney General’s staff also works to notify claimants and assist in reuniting them with their property.  Senate Enrolled Act 208 makes important changes to Indiana’s unclaimed property law. To make the statute compliant with recent court decisions, the legislation authorizes the State to pay interest to claimants on any interest-bearing accounts held by the Unclaimed Property program from the time they were collected by the State to the time they were distributed.  Also, SEA 208 protects the privacy of claimants so that their personal information is not disclosed in unclaimed property reports, to deter identity theft. 

Bill Status:  Assigned to Senate Civil Law committee; passed 8-0 in committee Jan. 27; advanced to full Senate; approved on third reading 48-0 in the Senate on Feb. 3; moved to Indiana House.  Assigned to House Judiciary Committee; passed 11-0 in committee Feb. 17 and advanced to full House; amended on second reading Feb. 20; passed on third reading 96-0 in House on Feb. 24; returned to the Senate.  Senate concurred with House amendments 49-0 on March 5; bill advanced to Governor’s desk.  Governor signed bill into law March 25.

 

Senate Enrolled Act 406:  Medicaid Fraud

By intervening in whistleblower lawsuits, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office has since January 2009 recovered approximately $50 million in settlements with pharmaceutical companies to resolve allegations of illegal off-label drug marketing.  State and federal versions of the False Claims Act allow private whistleblowers to file suit against companies that defraud government and allow the state itself to join such lawsuits and participate in any financial recovery.  Senate Enrolled Act 406 makes the state’s version of the False Claims Act consistent with the federal version which will improve enforcement in federal court.  Through passing the legislation, the State of Indiana will remain eligible for an additional 10 percent bonus financial recovery, beyond what it would already recover, funds that go back into the Indiana Medicaid program in the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA). More information about Medicaid fraud whistleblower lawsuits is on the Attorney General’s Office website at this link: http://bit.ly/OwR3wJ.

Bill Status:  Assigned to Senate Health and Provider Services Committee; passed 8-0 in committee Jan. 22, advanced to full Senate; passed 48-0 on third reading in the Senate on Feb. 3; moved to Indiana House. Assigned to House Public Health Committee; passed as amended in committee 11-0 on Feb. 24; advanced to full House; amended by House on second reading Feb. 27; passed 97-0 on third reading in House on March 3; returned to Senate.  Senate dissented from House amendments March 5; conference committee appointed.  Conference committee report adopted 47-0 by House and 98-0 by Senate on March 13; bill sent to Governor’s desk.

 

 

 

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