Indiana: House and Senate bills offer two different visions for how to pay for court security in the state

Legislation to create court security funds is not particularly new, such efforts have been proposed since at least the 1990s. However, the question of who should control the funds has always been an issue: should it be the state (and in particular the state supreme court), the local court, or the local government? That debate is playing out in Indiana in 2014 in the form of HB 1015 and SB 155.

Both bills create court security fund or funds. The money for these funds would come from a $1 (House) or $2 (Senate) fee on all civil and criminal cases. The money could only be used for “installing, operating, maintaining, and upgrading security measures, plans, procedures, and systems” in and around courthouses and courtrooms.

The difference arises in the administration of the funds. HB 1015 offers more state-level control, with the new statewide court security fund to be administered by supreme court. Localities would then apply to the supreme court for a grant. SB 155 offers more local-level control, with a court security fund created in each county to be administered by the county auditor.

HB 1015 is in the House Ways & Means Committee, while SB 155 has not yet received a committee assignment.