2016 Session

Jessica Lucia / https://www.flickr.com/photos/theloushe/4398776292

House and Senate lawmakers overwhelming approved bills Wednesday that give pharmacists a bigger role in helping stem the state’s meth cooking crisis.  The legislation deals with selling pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in making meth.

Rep. Ben Smaltz’s (R-Auburn) bill started out by simply requiring a prescription to buy pseudoephedrine.  But after significant pushback, Smaltz found a compromise. 

Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/5039079018

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to add transgendered Hoosiers to a gay-rights bill.

Democrats and gay-rights groups have opposed Senate Republicans' civil rights bill because it pushes the question of transgender protections to a study committee.

The bill's supporters have argued more debate is needed about transgender rights.

But Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) has filed an amendment to add gender identity to the bill.

jypsygen / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jypsygen/

Legislators may take a first step Monday toward deciding how much to limit access to Sudafed and similar medications.

At the start of the session, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) endorsed a prescription requirement to keep pseudoephedrine out of the hands of meth cooks.

But Auburn Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) changed his own bill to skip that requirement if a prescription is already on file at that pharmacy.

eFile989 / https://www.flickr.com/photos/119903731@N02/13369027524

Income taxes might go down to soften the blow of pushing Indiana’s gas and cigarette taxes up.

A House committee has resurrected Governor Pence's proposed 10-percent tax cut from three years ago.

Pence had to settle for 5-percent then, but Republicans have added the other half as a sweetener to the bill that raises other taxes to pay for road repairs.

Pulpolux / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pulpolux/151179802

Indiana is exploring expansion of its addiction hotline and developing a more Indiana-centric program that will help the state in its battle against drug abuse. The governor’s drug abuse task force Friday discussed progress in exploring such a move.

Indiana’s addiction hotline, which serves Hoosiers looking for help with substance abuse, problem gambling and consumer services, is run by a national firm that serves multiple states. 

Gay-Straight Alliances / Facebook

For the second straight session, lawmakers are discussing the balance between religious liberty and protections for LGBT Hoosiers. There are a number of bills circulating and young members of the LGBT community are trying to figure out if their lives will improve if any of the so-called fixes are implemented.

“Sometimes people just hear what you’re yelling and they don’t listen.”

“And it makes me think I’ve taken it for granted.”

“It really can be a terrifying thing for us and it means a lot to us and our identity.”

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

In many cities, it matters very little who sits on the tourism board.

But when you’re trying to make your town seem hip and you’ve got a one-time influx of Stellar Communities money in your back pocket to spend on that task, it may matter a great deal.

Today on Ask The Mayor, we see if Todd Barton of Crawfordsville has any aces up his sleeve who might help him use that cash to raise the city’s profile.

Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/5039079018

A Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that aims to balance protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual Hoosiers and people faith. Those testifying in complete support of the measure were few and far between.

Sunday Alcohol Bill Kicks The Suds-Bucket In Committee

Jan 28, 2016
Quinn Dombrowski / https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

Hoosiers won’t be able to buy alcohol in stores on Sundays anytime soon.

A bill that would have allowed for Sunday sales quickly died in committee Wednesday.

The bill met the same fate as many Sunday sales bills before it — the measure was quickly voted down five to eight in the House public policy committee.

Several members of the committee including Republican Representative Ed Clere cited concerns about access to alcohol in pharmacies and grocery stores.

“I especially have concerns about the placement and display and access to hard liquor,” he says.

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Advocates on either side of the religious liberty/LGBT rights debate at the Statehouse say they’re not surprised a bill aiming to rewrite last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act died Wednesday without even receiving a vote. 

The proposed bill would’ve labeled certain constitutional rights – including freedoms of religion, speech, thought, and assembly – as “fundamental” and required judges to give deference to them. 

LGBT rights group Freedom Indiana opposed the bill, arguing it threatened to promote discrimination against the LGBT community.