Dear Rep. Torr:
I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and healthy. The historic times we're living shut down the Hoosier State Press Association office for a bit, which delayed my writing of thank you letters to legislators.
HSPA would like to thank you for not giving hearings to two bills authored by Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington.
H.B. 1040 would have required a court to award attorney's fees to the prevailing party in all civil actions. HSP A voiced its concern with Rep. Leonard that the language would be in conflict with attorney fee provisions under the Open Door Law And Access to Public Records Act that are designed not to punish a citizen who files an action in good faith. Leonard said you were not going to give this bill a hearing because it was "problematic."
The bill died in the House Judiciary Committee chaired by you.
H.B. 1135 was another court costs bill introduced by Rep. Dan Leonard, R- Huntington. It would require a court to award attorney's fees under certain conditions where it now would be at the discretion of the judge. Again, HSPA raised a concern over the possibility of the language being in conflict with current attorney fees under the Open Door Law and Access to Public Records Act. Leonard said he didn't expect the bill to get a hearing, but that he probably will refile the bill in 2021's General Assembly.
This bill also died in your committee.
I look forward to working with the General Assembly during the 2021 session, which will surely be a busy one following this year's events.
Take care,
Stephen Key
Executive Director and General Counsel
Hoosier State Press Association