[r20] Rep. Dermody's bills to protect veterans and hinder motor fuel theft signed into law (5/18/2011)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Start Date: 5/18/2011 All Day
End Date: 5/18/2011

STATEHOUSE - State Rep. Tom Dermody sponsored two bills that were signed into law by the governor this week including Senate Bills 577 and 79.

Senate Bill 577 requires the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) to maintain records of students attending a college or university under a Higher Education Award. It also requires the postsecondary institutions to provide the CHE with student data requested by the CHE necessary to maintain the provisions of the Higher Education Award.

The bill also adds requirements for scholarships for future children of disabled veterans. Under SB 577 the disabled veteran must have been an Indiana resident at the time of their enlistment for their child to be eligible for the financial aid. The award recipient must also maintain a GPA of 2.5 or greater during their postsecondary education and may continue to receive the award until they are 32 years old.

"Every day those that serve our nation and their families sacrifice an incredible amount," said Rep. Dermody. "We want to ensure the children of disabled veterans are able to continue receiving benefits for their education. I respect their unyielding service and our laws need to do that, as well.

"The 21st Century Scholars Program, which is meant to assist truly poor families, has in recent years spent 30 percent of its funds, $14 million, on families that do not have a serious financial need. I am happy to protect the program and help solve this problem. "

Senate Bill 79 makes vehicle owners who do not properly pay a retailer for motor fuel at the time it is pumped liable for the cost of the fuel pumped, plus a $50 service charge. The motor fuel retailer will have to notify the owner of the vehicle of nonpayment by certified mail, and if the owner of the vehicle does not pay within 30 days then they will be liable to additional costs, fees and expenses. The statement may be disputed by the vehicle owner if they were not present at the time the fuel was pumped. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles will adopt rules for retailers to follow in order to obtain the name and address of the vehicle owner.

"Motor fuel theft is a crime that we must work to stop, and motor fuel retailers asked for a way to collect payment for gas when it was stolen," said Rep. Dermody. "This legislation will help protect these retailers as well as all Hoosiers so that gas prices do not rise because of theft."

Senate Bills 79 and 577 will go into effect on July 1, 2011.