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Bill Watch, Feb. 14, 2020: Current Government Practice Legislation of Note - Government Practice News

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Government Practice News


Posted on: Feb 20, 2020

The IndyBar Legislative Committee is currently monitoring the following government practice related legislation. IndyBar members can request that the Legislative Committee track specific legislation by contacting committee chair Mindy Westrick at mwestrick@indianaenergy.org.

Click here to view the full Bill Watch reports.

HB1014    PLAN COMMISSIONS. (SAUNDERS T) Provides that, for purposes of the advisory planning law, the county surveyor's designee must be a resident of the county to serve on the county plan commission. Provides that a member appointed to a plan commission to fill a vacancy or to serve as an alternate member must meet the same requirements, including residency requirements, as a regular member of the plan commission.

HB1027    TOWNSHIP ASSESSORS. (ENGLEMAN K) Abolishes the office of township assessor, effective January 1, 2023. Transfers the duties of the township assessor to the county assessor of the county in which the township is located. Provides that if the office of township assessor becomes vacant before January 1, 2023, the office is abolished and the duties of the township assessor are transferred to the county assessor.

HB1065    VARIOUS TAX MATTERS. (THOMPSON J) Provides that a property taxpayer who receives a credit for excessive taxes is entitled to an additional deduction from assessed value in an amount sufficient to make the product of the net assessed value, the taxing district tax rate (before adjustment), and a factor involving the applicable local income property tax credit percentage equal to the gross assessed value multiplied by the tax cap rate for the underlying class of property. Provides that a township fire protection and emergency services area that experiences more than 6% population growth during a 10 year period may increase its maximum fire protection and emergency services property tax levy for 2021 or any year thereafter by an amount based on the population growth that exceeds 6%. Provides, however, that the township may not increase the tax levy based on the population growth by a total rate of more than 0.10 per $100 of the net assessed value of the fire protection and emergency services area within a 10 year period. Authorizes the fiscal body of a township to adopt a resolution to place a township fire protection services referendum tax levy on the ballot. Provides that the referendum tax levy is excluded in calculating tax credits for purposes of the property tax caps. Requires the money received from the referendum tax levy to be deposited in the township's firefighting fund. Revises the voting procedures for a local income tax council. Provides that a local income tax council must vote as a whole to exercise its authority. (Under current law, the fiscal body of the county, city, or town that is a member of the local income tax council casts its vote as a bloc.) Phases in a new distribution formula for certain local income tax (LIT) revenue using a weighted combination of property tax levies and residential assessed value for taxing units receiving this LIT revenue. Phases in the weights over five years beginning in 2022. Retroactively amends local income tax provisions that authorize Monroe County and Howard County to impose a special purpose rate to fund operation and maintenance of a juvenile detention center to remove provisions referring to property tax credits that were inadvertently included in those special purpose rate provisions when the local income tax law was enacted. Provides that, if a township passes a local public question on whether the county in which the township is located should be required to fund and carry out a public transportation project under the central Indiana public transportation projects statute, the township board shall adopt a resolution to impose a special local income tax rate on the local taxpayers residing in the township, instead of the fiscal body of the county.

HB1104    HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY. (CLERE E) Repeals the laws governing the microenterprise partnership program fund and microenterprise partnership program. Requires the governing body of an eligible entity to notify the Indiana housing and community development authority of the creation of an affordable housing fund. Replaces the member of the low income housing trust fund advisory committee appointed by and representing the Indianapolis Coalition for Neighborhood Development with one member appointed by and representing the Indiana housing and community development authority.

HB1113    DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE. (LEONARD D) Changes the deadline for reporting bonds issued or leases executed after September 30. Changes the defined term "assessed value growth quotient" to the term "maximum levy growth quotient" without changing the definition. Allows the department of local government finance (DLGF) to amend certain rules to conform with statutory changes. Changes the deadline before which a township or county assessor must provide notice of the amount of assessment or reassessment. Requires counties to provide data related to property taxation to the DLGF. (Current law requires counties to provide the data to the DLGF and the legislative services agency.) Defines the term "yard improvements" in connection with the assessment of a golf course. Eliminates unnecessary information from the sales disclosure form. Changes the term "industrial facility" in the statutes concerned with the assessment of industrial facilities. Prohibits township assessors and vendors who contract with county assessors or townships from assessing industrial facilities in Lake County. Establishes floating deadlines for assessing officials or the county property tax board of appeals to act when making changes in the assessed value of personal property or issuing a determination in an appeal of a change in assessed value of personal property. Changes the debt service obligation reporting date. Provides that a political subdivision shall submit the date, time, and place of the final adoption of the budget, tax rate, and levy through the department's computer gateway. Requires a political subdivision to indicate on its budget ordinance whether the political subdivision intends to issue debt after December 1 or file a shortfall appeal. Requires a political subdivision that makes an additional unbudgeted appropriation to submit the additional appropriation to the department within 15 days after the additional appropriation is adopted. Provides that a county treasurer shall transmit the statement describing a taxpayer's property tax liability and the notice of assessment together to the taxpayer before April 15 each year. Eliminates the use of the state address confidentiality form to submit a request to restrict access to a covered person's address maintained in a public property data base. Provides that if a taxpayer is owed a refund that exceeds $100,000 for excessive property taxes paid on real property, a county auditor may pay the property tax refund in equal installments of property tax credits for up to five years. Requires the DLGF to provide certain assessment and tax data to the legislative services agency within one business day of receipt. Eliminates the requirement that a candidate for an assessor-appraiser examination be an Indiana resident. Eliminates the restriction that a representative of a taxpayer in a proceeding before the Indiana board of tax review must be an attorney if a matter under consideration in the proceeding is a claim that taxes are illegal as a matter of law. Provides that if an adopting body under the local income tax law wishes to submit a proposed notice, ordinance, or resolution to the department for preliminary review, the adopting body shall submit the notice, ordinance, or resolution on the prescribed forms. Eliminates the requirement in the context of teacher collective bargaining for the department to certify the amount of an operating referendum tax levy or a school safety referendum tax levy. Transfers responsibility for reporting by political subdivisions of other post-employment benefits from the department to the state board of accounts. Aligns the deadline for public libraries to adopt a budget with the general deadline to adopt a budget. Rephrases and reorganizes various provisions. Makes technical changes.

HB1189 USE OF FIREFIGHTING FOAM CONTAINING PFAS. (MAYFIELD P) Prohibits the use of Class B firefighting foam containing an intentionally added PFAS chemical: (1) for training purposes; and (2) for testing purposes, unless the testing facility has implemented appropriate measures to prevent releases of the firefighting foam to the environment.
 
HB1222 MISCELLANEOUS ELECTION LAW MATTERS. (WESCO T) Provides that the circuit court clerk may serve as the chair of a county election board or a board of elections and registration. Provides that the following may not serve as a member of a county election board or a board of elections and registration: (1) An individual who has authority to appoint a member of the board. (2) A member of the county committee of a political party. (3) A relative of any individual described in (1) or (2). Establishes a petition signature requirement for town council district candidates in towns with not more than two precincts. Allows an individual who is an unopposed candidate for township office to be appointed and serve as a precinct election officer at any vote center if certain conditions are met. Establishes a procedure for a member of the state recount commission to appoint a proxy. Establishes an administrative procedure to remove a township board member who is no longer a resident of the township. Abolishes city and town conventions for nomination of candidates for municipal offices. Abolishes town election boards. Makes conforming changes.
 
HB1235 911 FEES. (KARICKHOFF M) Provides that the statewide 911 board may increase an enhanced prepaid wireless charge not more than one time in a calendar year in an amount not to exceed $0.10. Revises the definition of "statewide 911 system". Provides that the statewide 911 board may adjust the statewide 911 fee not more than one time in a calendar year in an amount not to exceed $0.10.
 
HB1279 NORTHWEST INDIANA REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY. (SOLIDAY E) Provides that the general assembly finds that the powers and responsibilities provided to the northwest Indiana regional development authority (development authority) are appropriate and necessary to further facilitate the provision of transit development districts. Amends the definition of "economic development project". Provides that a purpose of the development authority is to set and align the economic development strategy and connectivity for northwest Indiana. Provides that the development board may establish any nonprofit entity to solicit and accept various funding in order to carry out and further the purposes, plans, and goals of the development authority. Provides that any such entity shall be a governmental body required to provide its current audited financial statements to the development authority not later than four months after the end of the development authority's fiscal year. Provides that all assets of a corporation shall accrue to and vest in the development authority upon dissolution. Provides that the development authority may contract with, assign to, or delegate to a commuter transportation district or a nonprofit entity to perform any duties and exercise any powers of the development authority. Provides that the development authority shall act as the chief developmental officer for the state with regard to transit development districts and provide administrative and financial support to any entity created for transit development districts or for economic development projects. Provides that the development authority may expend money related to transit development districts or nonprofit subsidiary corporations established to solicit and accept various funding in order to carry out and further the purposes of the development authority. Provides that the development authority may create any entity in furtherance of any economic development project or any other purpose of the development authority, including the comprehensive plan of the development authority. Removes the provision specifying that a liability or obligation may not be incurred by the development authority that is greater than the revenue to be received for rail transit development district purposes. Makes certain provisions under the public meetings and public records laws for the development authority.
 
HB1348 STATE AND LOCAL ADMINISTRATION. (GUTWEIN D) Repeals the following boards and commissions: (1) Public highway private enterprise review board. (2) Lake Michigan marina and shoreline development commission. Repeals the following advisory councils and advisory boards: (1) Interstate rail passenger advisory council. (2) Orange County development advisory board. Repeals the high speed rail development fund (fund) and requires the budget agency to transfer any unencumbered money in the fund to the state general fund. Repeals language concerning responsibilities of the circuit court clerk (clerk) with respect to: (1) the clerk's receipt of the registry of certain alcohol permits; (2) notification to the clerk of a hearing regarding the fitness of an applicant seeking certain alcohol permits; and (3) the clerk's issuance of hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses. Provides that a newspaper may not charge an indigent person a fee for publishing a legal notice that is greater than the governmental rate. Makes conforming changes.

SB8    911 DISPATCHERS. (BOHACEK M) Provides that an emergency medical dispatcher who has successfully completed certain training shall be considered an emergency responder.

SB20    COUNTY PLAN COMMISSIONS. (GASKILL M) Allows a county agricultural extension educator (educator) serving on a county plan commission who is not a resident of the county to continue to serve on the plan commission until: (1) October 1, 2020; or (2) the date set forth in a county legislative body ordinance that is after October 1, 2020, and not later than October 1, 2021. Provides that an educator who is not a resident of the county shall serve the commission in a nonvoting advisory capacity. Provides that, for purposes of the advisory planning law, the county surveyor's designee must be a resident of the county to serve on the county plan commission. Adds a provision that requires a person appointed to a plan commission, to fill a vacancy or to serve as an alternate member, to meet the same requirements as the member they are appointed to replace.

SB23    ANNEXATION. (BOOTS P) Provides, with certain exceptions, that the following apply to annexations for which an annexation ordinance is adopted after March 31, 2020: (1) A municipality initiating an annexation must file a petition with the court signed by at least: (A) 51% of the owners of land that is not exempt from property taxes in the annexation territory; or (B) the owners of more than 75% in assessed valuation of land that is not exempt from property taxes in the annexation territory. (2) If the petition filed by the municipality has enough signatures, the court must hold a hearing to review the annexation. (3) Adds provisions regarding the validity of a signature on an annexation petition. (4) Eliminates the remonstrance procedure for annexations and reimbursement of remonstrator's attorney's fees and costs. (5) Provides that remonstrance waivers are void for annexations for which the annexation ordinance is adopted after March 31, 2020. (6) Provides that a settlement agreement in lieu of annexation that is executed after March 31, 2020, is void. (7) Eliminates provisions regarding the contiguity of a public highway. Eliminates provisions that prohibit an annexation from taking effect in the year preceding the year that a federal decennial census is conducted.

SB25    MENTAL HEALTH DISABILITY REVIEW PANELS. (BOOTS P) Establishes mental health disability review panels (review panel) for evaluation of members of the 1977 police officers' and firefighters' pension and disability fund (1977 fund) who have been determined to have an impairment for mental illness. Includes mental illness in the description of "occupational diseases" for purposes of determining whether a 1977 fund member has an impairment. Makes the final determination of an impairment for a mental illness provisional for two years: (1) beginning July 1, 2020, for a final determination made after December 31, 2012, and before July 1, 2020; or (2) from the date of the final determination, for a final determination made after June 30, 2020. Requires that, during that time, the 1977 fund member participate in a mental health treatment plan, at the employer's cost, and at the end of the two year period, requires the review panel to evaluate the 1977 fund member to determine if the 1977 fund member: (1) is medically able to return to duty; or (2) may continue for another two year provisional disability period. Requires that, at the end of the second provisional period, the review panel evaluate the 1977 fund member to determine if the 1977 fund member: (1) is medically able to return to duty; or (2) has a permanent impairment. (The introduced version of this bill was prepared by the interim study committee on pension management oversight.)

SB46    STORM WATER FEE EXEMPTIONS. (FREEMAN A) Provides that the board of a municipal department of storm water management, the board of a county department of storm water management, or the board of public works of a consolidated city may not assess or collect user fees for the operation and maintenance of a storm water system with respect to: (1) property where religious services are held regularly; (2) property that belongs to a school corporation and is used for educational purposes; or (3) property that is assessed as agricultural land for property tax purposes. Provides that the drainage board of a county that does not have a department of storm water management may not assess or collect fees for services provided to address issues of storm water quality and quantity with respect to: (1) property where religious services are held regularly; (2) property that belongs to a school corporation and is used for educational purposes; or (3) property that is assessed as agricultural land for property tax purposes.

SB71    ADVERSE POSSESSION STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS. (DORIOT B) Amends the statute concerning the statute of limitations for actions for the recovery of the possession of real estate to provide that such an action that: (1) involves a line located and established by a professional surveyor; and (2) accrues before the lines are located and established by the surveyor; must be commenced before the expiration of the appeal period set forth in the statute governing county surveyors. Amends the Indiana Code provision concerning the establishment of property lines by means of a legal survey to specify that the lines established are binding on all affected landowners, including a landowner who claims title under a claim of adverse possession.

SB80    INDIANA CODE PUBLICATION BILL. (YOUNG M) Addresses nonsubstantive problems not suitable for inclusion in the annual Technical Corrections bill, including resolution of the conflicts between versions of sections that were both amended and repealed during the 2019 legislative session. (The introduced version of this bill was prepared by the code revision commission.)

SB100    RIGHT TO RESTORE OR RECONSTRUCT A DWELLING. (DORIOT B) Provides that a person is entitled to restore or reconstruct a nonconforming residential single family dwelling within the dwelling's existing footprint, if the dwelling: (1) is nonconforming only as to lot size, setbacks, or any other dimensional requirements; (2) is a habitable dwelling assessed as residential property; and (3) has not been condemned. Prohibits a local government from requiring a variance for the restoration or reconstruction.

SB132    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (CRIDER M) Renames the "safety first" license plate as the "first responder" license plate. Provides that the department of homeland security may require a person to submit information, a document, or an application electronically. Provides that a two-dimensional bar code shall be displayed in or on each regulated lifting device. Repeals the reduced ignition propensity standards for cigarettes fund and transfers the money in the fund to the fire prevention and public safety fund. Provides that the fire prevention and public safety fund may be used for the same purposes as the reduced ignition propensity standards for cigarettes fund. Makes conforming changes.

SB148    ZONING AND MANUFACTURED HOMES. (DORIOT B) Adds a definition of "industrialized residential structure" for purposes of the law governing mobile home communities. Provides that, subject to certain conditions: (1) an industrialized residential structure may be located in a mobile home community; and (2) units of local government may not adopt or enforce a comprehensive plan or zoning ordinance that prohibits the plans and specifications for a proposed residential structure solely because the proposed residential structure is a manufactured home. Provides that units of local government may not adopt or enforce certain ordinances, regulations, requirements, or other restrictions related to construction, building, or design that mandate width standards, roof pitch requirements, or other design standards for a manufactured home. Makes conforming changes.

SB230    LEASING OF LOCAL UNIT PROPERTY. (SANDLIN J) Provides that a political subdivision may lease real property of the political subdivision that is located between the curb of a street and the front of commercial property, including a parkway strip, tree row, verge, or sidewalk, to the owner of the commercial property: (1) upon terms agreed to between the political subdivision and the property owner or property manager; and (2) without competitive bidding. Specifies requirements for the lease. Provides that upon execution of the lease, the property of the political subdivision shall be under the maintenance, control, and supervision of the property owner or the property manager, subject to the public's right to use the sidewalk as a walkway. Requires the lease to be approved by at least a two-thirds vote of the members of the fiscal body of the political subdivision.

SB237    CARE OF CITY POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS. (BROWN L) Provides that a city shall pay for the care of a police officer or firefighter who suffers an injury while performing the person's duty or while the person is on duty or who contracts illness caused by the performance of the person's duty. Adds requirements that allows a federal enforcement officer to be appointed as a police chief or deputy police chief in a city.

SB258    FIREFIGHTER SAFETY. (KOCH E) Requires the board of firefighting personnel standards and education to establish best practices to improve safety and health outcomes for firefighters. Provides that the worker's compensation rating bureau of Indiana may provide a premium or rate discount towards worker's compensation insurance to political subdivisions and volunteer fire departments that implement best practices. Provides that the board of trustees of the Indiana public retirement system may provide a discount to a payment required for the 1977 police officers' and firefighters' pension and disability fund pension fund to political subdivisions that implement best practices. Establishes the best practices fund for the purpose of providing matching grants to political subdivisions and volunteer fire departments to purchase equipment and other gear to implement best practices.

SB264 CERTIFIED TECHNOLOGY PARKS. (HOLDMAN T) Amends provisions that allow a certified technology park to capture an additional amount of incremental income taxes once it has reached its limit on deposits to do the following: (1) Increase the annual additional deposit amount from $100,000 to $500,000, and cap the total additional amount that may be captured at not more than $2,000,000. (2) Require a certified technology park to meet certain reporting and performance requirements in order to be eligible to capture the additional amount of incremental income taxes.
 
SB291 LAW ENFORCEMENT AND HANDGUNS IN A CASINO. (GROOMS R) Prohibits the gaming commission from adopting a rule prohibiting a law enforcement officer from carrying a handgun in a casino, and repeals an existing rule. Permits the gaming commission to adopt rules: (1) requiring a law enforcement officer who is carrying a handgun to notify an enforcement agent that the law enforcement officer is carrying a handgun; and (2) prohibiting a law enforcement who is carrying a handgun from consuming alcohol or from entering a casino after having consumed alcohol.
 
SB350 REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT. (HOLDMAN T) Establishes a regional development local gross retail tax, a regional development local income tax, and a regional development food and beverage tax. Provides various changes to the existing regional development authority law for development authorities established before January 1, 2020. Defines various terms. Adds a new article for development authorities established after January 1, 2020. Does the following under the new article: (1) Provides that a development authority is a separate body corporate and politic that shall carry out its purposes by acquiring, constructing, equipping, owning, leasing, and financing projects and facilities for lease to or for the benefit of eligible political subdivisions, and by funding and developing other various projects. (2) Provides that subject to certain adjacency requirements, a development authority may be established by certain counties or municipalities meeting specific population requirements. Provides that a county or municipality may participate in the establishment of a development authority and become a member only if the fiscal body adopts a development authority investment plan. Provides that when a county establishes a development authority with another unit, any municipality in the county does not also become a member unless the fiscal body of the municipality also adopts the investment plan. Provides that a county or municipality may only be a member of one development authority. Provides that a development authority shall notify the Indiana economic development corporation (IEDC) after the development authority is established. (3) Provides requirements and restrictions for a county and a municipality to join a development authority. (4) Provides that a county or municipality shall be a member of a development authority for at least 12 years and not more than 22 years. Provides that at least 12 months and not more than 18 months before the end of a membership period, the fiscal body of the member must adopt an ordinance that commits the member to an additional term of membership or withdraws the member from the development authority at the end of the current term. (5) Provides that a development authority board is governed by an investment board. Provides requirements for the establishment, composition, bylaws, and procedural operations of the investment board. (6) Provides requirements and restrictions for public purchasing and public works projects of development authorities. (7) Provides requirements for an annual financial audit and local advisory committee for development authorities. (8) Describes the duties and powers of a development authority. Provides that a development authority may enter into certain joint agreements with other development authorities or entities. Provides that a development authority shall issue an annual report to various parties. Provides that a development authority shall prepare a comprehensive strategic plan. (9) Provides that an investment board shall establish and administer a regional investment fund. Provides for the funding sources of the regional investment fund. Provides for the establishment of a debt service account within the regional investment fund. Provides what amounts must be transferred by each member to the development authority for deposit in the regional investment fund. (10) Provides that a development authority may issue bonds for certain purposes and provides requirements, procedures, and terms related to the bonds. Provides that a development authority may lease land or a project to an eligible political subdivision and provides requirements, procedures, and terms related to such leases.
 
SB365 TOWN OF GRIFFITH. (NIEMEYER R) Provides that, for purposes of the law governing the transfer of municipal territory to an adjacent township, the time period for submitting a petition to an adjacent township is two years (rather than one year under current law) after a special election concerning whether the territory of an eligible municipality should be transferred to an adjacent township within the county. Provides that, if the legislative body of an adjacent township adopts a resolution rejecting the transfer of the territory of the eligible municipality within the transferor township: (1) the territory of the eligible municipality may not be transferred to an adjacent township; and (2) the eligible municipality shall assume within the territory of the eligible municipality the duties and responsibilities related to township government. Provides that an eligible municipality shall: (1) prepare a comprehensive plan that contains a fiscal impact analysis and other fiscal and administrative matters relevant to the eligible municipality's assumption of township government services; and (2) adopt an ordinance incorporating the comprehensive plan. Requires the eligible municipality to post a copy of the comprehensive plan, including any amendments to the comprehensive plan, on the eligible authority's Internet web site. Specifies the required contents of the fiscal impact analysis. Provides that an eligible municipality shall prepare the comprehensive plan and adopt the ordinance incorporating the comprehensive plan not later than one year after the later of the following: (1) The expiration of the one year period following the date on which the last township legislative body receives a petition from the eligible municipality. (2) The date that the last township legislative body adopts a resolution rejecting the transfer of the territory to the township. Provides that, if an eligible municipality does not prepare the comprehensive plan and adopt the ordinance incorporating the comprehensive plan within the time period established by the bill, the eligible municipality does not assume the governmental powers and duties of the township for the territory within the eligible municipality. Provides for the transfer and treatment of indebtedness attributable to the territory in which the eligible municipality will provide township government services. Provides for the imposition of property taxes to pay outstanding indebtedness within the territory in which the eligible municipality will provide township government services. Provides that the department of local government finance shall adjust the maximum permissible property tax levies to account for the assumption of township government services by the eligible municipality. Requires the eligible municipality's fiscal body to adopt tax levies, tax rates, and a budget for the services required by the eligible municipality's assumption of township government services in the year before the year in which the eligible municipality assumes responsibility for providing township government services.
 
SB367 REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES. (NIEMEYER R) Specifies that the open door law and access to public records act apply to a regional development authority and the authority's governing board.
 
SB406 SURVIVOR BENEFITS. (GARTEN C) Provides that if a public safety officer enters a deferred retirement option plan (DROP) for the public safety officer's respective pension plan and the public safety officer dies before the public safety officer's DROP exit date, the benefit options for the public safety officer's survivors are made similar, as applicable, to the DROP disability benefit options in: (1) the DROP applicable to the state excise police, gaming agent, gaming control officer, and conservation enforcement officers' retirement plan; (2) the DROP applicable to the 1925 police pension fund, the 1937 firefighters' pension fund, the 1953 police pension fund (Indianapolis), and the 1977 police officers' and firefighters' pension and disability fund; and (3) the DROP applicable to the county sheriffs' retirement plans.
 
SB410 LIBRARIES. (GLICK S) Makes changes to statutes applicable to the review of budgets of certain public libraries. Establishes a procedure for public libraries to identify the applicable city, town, or county fiscal body to receive a public library's proposed budget. Includes public libraries in the definition of "qualified entities" for purposes of criminal background checks. Requires, before December 31, 2020, public libraries to conduct criminal background checks for individuals who are more than 18 years of age and who: (1) apply to the public library for employment or volunteer work; or (2) are currently employed by or perform volunteer work for the public library. Provides that a library board may issue a local library card without charge or for a reduced fee to an individual who is not a resident of the library district and who is a child receiving foster care services.

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