Bills would protect property, children

Ethan Manning

INDIANAPOLIS — With just a few weeks away from critical deadlines for bills to receive a hearing, legislation continues to move quickly down at the Statehouse.

State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) represents House District 23, which includes portions of Cass, Fulton and Miami counties. He has recently had several bills move through the legislative process.

His first bill, House Bill 1056, passed through the Senate unanimously. Currently, county auditors determine someone’s eligibility for real property tax deductions. If a taxpayer is denied, they can appeal the decision, and the notice of appeal is filed with the county or township assessor.

“This bill streamlines the appeal process of auditor decisions by bypassing the assessor, who is unfamiliar with the case, from the system and sending it straight to the auditor,” said Manning in a press release.

Because of an amendment in the Senate, Manning said, the legislation must return to the House to either approve or reject the changes and then be sent to a conference committee to reconcile differences, which he plans to do.

The second bill he authored, House Bill 1664, passed out of the Senate Utilities Committee. This proposal would clarify that homeowners associations, condominium associations and rental units that sell water and sewer services through one master meter to multiple properties are not considered a public utility.

Manning says that taking the burden off landlords to comply with Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission rates, financing, bonding, environmental compliance plans and service territories could help reduce confusion regarding service prices in these situations.

“Even if they have one master meter and charge residents for water or sewer service, it is common sense that private associations and landlords should not be considered public utilities,” Manning stated. “This is the current practice of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission but needs to be reflected in code.”

In the House, Manning is sponsoring Senate Bill 604, which was heard in the House Judiciary Committee.

Sometimes people file frivolous, fabricated claims on property of public officials, businesses or anyone they choose, to dispute title ownership. These claims are often filed in an attempt to slow down the process of transferring property ownership from one person to another.

This proposal would create a process for property owners who are selling to notify individuals who file a claim.

“Once the notice is received, the person has 30 days to file a court action to enforce it,” Manning said. “If that action is not filed, then the property owner can request the claim be expunged."

Manning is also a House sponsor of Senate Bill 258, a bill designed to close a loophole in Indiana law making it illegal for sexually violent predators and offenders against children form working as a child care provider, babysitter, adult daycare provider or primary caregiver.

This bill came in response to a case in Madison County where a registered sex offender advertised babysitting services on Facebook.

“This bill would help protect children from predators, and prevent situations like this in the future,” Manning said.

It passed out of the House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee and could receive a vote from the full House sometime this week.

Reach Quentin Blount at or 574-732-5130.

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