News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

March 31, 2014

AG praises legislative successes

Zoeller: Statehouse passed notable bills during session

TERRE HAUTE — Area state legislators received the thanks of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller on Monday for their support of bills on human trafficking, telephone privacy and consumer protection.

“Before the session, my office had recommended several proposals for new laws that would help improve the health and safety of Hoosiers by strengthening existing law and addressing some problems that plague consumers,” Zoeller said in the meeting with Sen. John Waterman (R-Shelburn) and Rep. Bob Heaton (R-Terre Haute) at the Vigo County Annex “Legislators of both parties and both houses worked collaboratively to pass these bills.”

Waterman, authored Senate Enrolled Act 291, which updated the state’s human trafficking law to clarify that investigation information can be accessed and maintained by the AG’s office to assist in prosecutions of violations.

“Recently, we had some more arrests in Johnson County on this,” said Waterman, a former Sullivan County sheriff. He said he knows from experience that human trafficking does occur in parts of Indiana.

Senate Enrolled Act 208, sponsored by Heaton, implements changes to Indiana’s unclaimed property law. It authorizes the state to pay interest to claimants on any interest-bearing accounts held by the state’s unclaimed property program from the time the state collects the funds until they are distributed. The bill also protects the privacy of the claimants so their personal information is not disclosed in unclaimed property reports.

“Since every penny counts and by allowing interest to continue to build,” Heaton said, “more dollars will be returned to the rightful owners of this property.”

Anyone wanting to check for property can go online to www.IndianaUnclaimed.gov, or call 800-447-5598 for assistance.

Zoeller said that SEA 349 updated Indiana’s “Do Not Call” legislation to prohibit third-party companies from placing unwanted robo-calls to consumers, and then transfer the calls to a company selling a product or service when the consumer answers the phone.

Zoeller said that legislators also passed a resolution asking the Federal Communications Commission to take action to prohibit international robo-calls from overseas companies. Zoeller asked that Hoosiers go online to fill out a complaint form to the FCC supporting the resolution.

The attorney general also pointed out that SEA 227 updates the Lifeline Law that expands the immunity from prosecution for reporting alcohol poisoning to include other medical emergencies such as concussions, sexual assaults or witnessing or reporting a crime.

More information about the consumer protection issues is available online at www.IndianaConsumer.com.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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