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End to age limit for top judges wins Senate OK

– Senators approved a move Tuesday to remove a mandatory retirement age for appellate and Supreme Court justices in Indiana.

Senate Bill 124 passed 36-12 and now moves to the full House.

Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, said it would put Indiana’s top judges on the same footing as those on the U.S. Supreme Court.

It doesn’t apply to any sitting state appellate or Supreme Court judges because of a constitutional provision that ties them to the rules that were in place when they were appointed.

Several local legislators voted against the bill, including Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, and Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle.

Senate OKs deputy AG in Washington

The Indiana Senate voted 37-11 Tuesday to allow the state attorney general to have a full-time deputy stationed in Washington, D.C.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has already done this, and Senate Bill 36 affirms that authority, said author Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City.

There were concerns originally about the scope of work the deputy could focus on, but the measure eventually passed out of committee when the deputy’s authority was narrowed to reviewing legislation or monitoring the state’s legal interests.

Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, was the only area senator to vote against the bill.

Specialty-plates revamp clears House

The Indiana House has approved a plan to overhaul the state’s specialty license plate system by requiring all groups with plates to sell at least 500 a year and undergo a financial review once a decade.

House members voted 92-6 in favor of the bill Tuesday.

A similar overhaul plan was derailed last year by some Republican legislators who sought to revoke the plate issued to a gay youth advocacy group.

A new bipartisan commission would review requests for new plates and the groups’ use of the money they receive from them.

The bill sets a limit of 150 specialty plates; the state now has about 100. The proposal now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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