Articles Posted in Indiana General Assembly

We previously discussed the Business Entity Harmonization Bill (Senate Enrolled Act 443 or P.L. 118-2017) passed last year by the General Assembly in the following posts:

“In that remote and despotic period, when the sovereign king chartered rights and liberties to his subjects – the people – all governmental powers were assumed to be his by divine right. In him were combined the legislative, executive and judicial powers of government. He was the lawgiver, interpreter and enforcer. When the powers were executed by agents, the agents were his, and responsible to him alone. On this continent we came to the time when the people, by revolution, took to themselves sovereignty, and in exercising supreme political power chartered governments by written constitutions. These organic instruments declared and guaranteed the rights and liberties of the individual, which had come to the people through centuries of struggle against absolutism in government. The majority was to rule, but under restraints and limitations which preserved to the minority its rights. ‘By the constitution which they establish, they not only tie up the hands of their official agencies, but their own hands as well; and neither the officers of the State, nor the whole people as an aggregate body, are at liberty to take action in opposition to this fundamental law.’ Cooley, Const. Lim. (7th ed.) 56.”

Ellingham v. Dye, 178 Ind. 336, 342; 99 N.E. 1, 3 (1912).

When I was in law school more than 25 years ago, I ran across the 1912 decision of the Indiana Supreme Court quoted above. It fascinated me because, at least as I understood the context, it decided a question that brought Indiana to the brink of a constitutional crisis. The case involves an attempt by the Indiana Governor and the General Assembly to amend the Indiana Constitution without complying with the procedures prescribed by the Constitution itself. At the time I thought I might return to the case some day and write an article about it, but I never got around to it.

[March 3, 2018. The General Assembly amended some of the provisions created the Business Entity Harmonization Bill, as discussed in a Postscript to this series.]

This is the last in four-part series. The first three parts are here: here, here, and here.

This Part IV describes some flaws of Senate Enrolled Act 443 that we ran across while writing the first three parts.  We hope the General Assembly will address them, either in the 2018 session or another.

[March 3, 2018. The General Assembly amended some of the provisions created the Business Entity Harmonization Bill, as discussed in a Postscript to this series.]

This is the third of a four-part series discussing the Business Entity Harmonization Bill passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2017. The first two parts are here and here.

Senate Enrolled Act 443 creates, effective as of January 1, 2018, a new Article 0.6, the Uniform Business Organization Transactions Code, in Title 23 of the Indiana Code. In previous versions of the statute, provisions dealing with mergers, conversions, and domestications of business corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and nonprofit corporations were scattered across several articles of Title 23. The Uniform Business Organization Transactions Code gathers most of them into one article that, in general, applies at least as broadly as each corresponding provision of the former statute, and in some cases more broadly. In addition, the new article provides for the acquisition of ownership interest (i.e., stock in a corporation or interest in a partnership or LLC) by another entity.

[March 3, 2018. The General Assembly amended some of the provisions created the Business Entity Harmonization Bill, as discussed in a Postscript to this series.]

This is the second of a four-part series discussing the Business Entity Harmonization Bill passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2017. An overview of the bill is provided in Part I.

Senate Enrolled Act 443 creates, effective as of January 1, 2018, a new Article 0.5 in Title 23 of the Indiana Code, the Uniform Business Organizations Code, that includes a number of provisions that apply to Indiana business corporations (including professional corporations and benefit corporations, but excluding insurance companies), limited liability companies (LLCs, including series LLCs), limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and nonprofit corporations, eliminating a number of inconsistencies between similar provisions for different types of entities. The following discussion is a brief description of some of the more important provisions, drawing attention to new or substantially changed provisions.

[March 3, 2018. The General Assembly amended some of the provisions created the Business Entity Harmonization Bill, as discussed in a Postscript to this series.]

Indiana law provides for several types of business and nonprofit entities, each of which is governed by one or more articles of Title 23 of the Indiana Code, all of which require similar filings with the Indiana Secretary of State, and all of which are capable of undergoing transactions such as mergers and conversions into other types of entities. The types of entities and the governing portions of Title 23 are:

On March 23, Indiana’s governor signed House Enrolled Act 1336 which adds to the Indiana Business Flexibility Act to provide for series LLCs.  In general, I think it’s a good thing that Indiana has joined the dozen or more other states (plus D.C. and Puerto Rico) with series limited liability companies.  I expect to post a detailed analysis of the bill, pointing out the good and the bad, before too long.  In the meantime, here’s a letter I wrote in support of the bill.

February 16, 2016

VIA email Senator.Zakas@iga.in.gov

On January 1, 2016, Indiana will join nearly 30 other states with statutes authorizing a relatively new form of for-profit corporations known as a benefit corporation.  The Indiana statute was created by House Enrolled Act 1015, which was authored by Rep. Casey Cox (R-Fort Wayne), and will be codified at Ind. Code 23‑1‑1.3.

Indiana’s benefit corporation statute, like most (maybe all) others, is based on a model statute developed by B Lab, a nonprofit organization that certifies businesses that meet certain standards for social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.  There are currently 1287 businesses certified by B Lab, including some companies that were well known for their social responsibility long before they were certified, such as Ben & Jerry’s.

Sorting out the terminology

Last session, the Indiana General Assembly passed, and Governor Pence signed, House Enrolled Act 1494, amending Indiana Code Title 12, Article 17.2 by establishing new requirements for national criminal history background checks for employees and volunteers of regulated child care providers.

A national criminal history background check involves the submission of an individual’s fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for comparison to a national database. (Note that there is a separate process for background checks for individuals under 18 years of age.) The new requirement for a national background check replaces a previous requirement for a background check at the state level, but it is in addition to the requirement for substance abuse testing.

This article discusses the new requirement for background checks in broad terms. More detailed information is available from the Bureau of Child Care of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. Note also that HEA also creates some other new requirements for some child care providers that are not addressed by this article.

Applicability

The requirement for background checks applies to essentially all individuals who have any contact with children at any type of regulated child care providers, which include

For all types of regulated providers, background checks are required for all individual caregivers, including both employees and volunteers. For child care homes, the requirement also extends to any member of the household who is 18 years of age or older (or, if younger than 18, who has been previously been charged with a crime and waived from juvenile court to adult court), even if he or she will have no contact with children.

Background checks are required when the child care center, home, or ministry applies for a license or registration; when an unlicensed provider applies for certification of eligibility to receive CCDF funding; when a new employee is hired or a new volunteer begins work; and every three years after that. The requirements for new applications and new employees and volunteers (and for child care homes, new household members) took effect on July 1, 2013. Other regulated providers have until July 1, 2014, to comply with the requirements for existing caregivers and household members.

Prohibitions

The purpose of the background check is to identify individuals who are prohibited from being child care provider, an employee or volunteer of a child care provider, or a member of the household at a child care home. An application for a license, registration, or CCDF certification may be denied if the provider, a caregiver, or (for child care homes) a household member has been convicted of certain types of felonies or misdemeanors or if the individual has been charged of such a crime while the application is pending. Note that only convictions or pending charges count; previous charges that were dismissed or resulted in an acquittal do not disqualify an individual.
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Earlier this year the General Assembly passed HEA 1394 which made several changes to the Indiana Business Flexibility Act, the statute that governs limited liability companies. We have already looked at some changes to the Act that enhance the use of Indiana LLCs for estate planning purposes. This article discusses new alternatives for LLC management structure.

The Indiana Business Flexibility Act already provided for a great deal of flexibility for management structure. One of the key steps in designing the management structure of a limited liability company is to establish who has the apparent authority to bind the company, for example by signing contracts on behalf of the LLC. Prior to the changes there were essentially two choices. In a member-managed LLC, the members have that authority. In a manager-managed LLC, the members appoint managers (who may or may not also be members) who have that authority.

HEA 1394 provides a third choice — officers, who may or may not be members. At first blush, there may seem to be little difference between officers and managers because, like the managers in a manager-managed LLC, officers have the apparent authority to bind the LLC to third party agreements. But there is at least one important difference: In a manager-managed LLC, only the managers, and not the members, have the apparent authority to bind the company. The new revisions allow the members of an LLC to establish officers who have the apparent authority to bind the company, while also retaining that authority themselves. In fact, a manager-managed LLC can also have officers. In that case, both the managers and the officers, but not the members, have apparent authority to bind the LLC.

HEA 1394 includes other changes to the statute that enhance the alternatives for LLC governance. For example, the Act now permits the operating agreement to make certain significant decisions, including mergers, dissolutions, and amendments to the operating agreement, subject to the approval of a third party who need not be a member.

One context in which such provisions may prove useful is in estate planning. Imagine the founder of a business, held by a limited liability company, with multiple heirs, who wants the business to remain in the family. Although the operating agreement may create significant restrictions on transfers of membership interests and admission of new members, the heirs could later agree to amend the operating agreement to remove those restrictions. The Act now allows the operating agreement to name a trusted outside party who must approve any amendments to the operating agreement, thus increasing the likelihood that the founder’s desires will be honored.
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