2017 Indiana General Assembly

Holcomb Signs Alcohol, Baby Boxes Bills

May 2, 2017

 

Among the final bills Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law is the measure temporarily rewriting the state’s alcohol laws.

Courtesy Indiana Senate Republicans

Today on WBAA's Wake-Up Call, we talk to State Senator Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) about her six-year effort to convince Indiana lawmakers to mandate cursive writing be taught in Hoosier schools.

This year, the General Assembly didn't approve Leising's long-sought after mandate.

But it did support her compromise plan requiring the Indiana Department of Education to ask teachers, school administrators and school board members whether they want mandatory instruction of cursive writing.

$1.2 Billion Road Funding Package Sent To Governor

Apr 24, 2017

 

The state legislature has sent Gov. Eric Holcomb a $1.2 billion-a-year road funding package, fulfilling a session-long pledge from all four legislative caucuses.

The road funding package generates money in several ways, including gasoline tax hikes and BMV fees, providing $340 million per year to local roads and $870 million for the state.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane criticized the larger scope of the bill, raising gasoline taxes while cutting taxes for casinos in the state in a separate bill.

Court Protectee Gun Bill Passes Legislature

Apr 24, 2017

A controversial piece of gun legislation is heading to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk after it passed through the legislature.

It allows people protected by restraining orders to carry handguns without a license for up to 60 days.

It passed easily in the House, 74 to 26, and in the Senate, 38 to 12. But those opposed argued it would escalate domestic violence situations.

Hoosiers are already allowed to keep firearms at home without a license. Senate sponsor Mark Messmer (D-Princeton) says the bill keeps victims safe outside the home.

The legislative focus of this year’s session wasn’t a mystery. Lawmakers already spent more than a year debating road funding. And so it wasn’t a surprise when Gov. Eric Holcomb told the General Assembly this in the first weeks of session.

“I will work with you to establish a plan that invests in the new projects for the future that ensures Indiana will remain The Crossroads of America,” Holcomb said.

But it was not the only big goal – or debate – this session.

Lawmakers completed a temporary rewrite of the state’s alcohol carryout laws to address a convenience store that found a legal work-around.

Ricker’s acquired restaurant permits for two of its convenience stores. Those permits allow them to sell cold beer and hard liquor for carryout – which grocery and convenience stores have never been allowed to do.

Legislation is headed to the governor that eliminates many of the state’s monopoly-creating, vaping regulations.

While the legislation deletes several rules, it installs new regulations, including certain packaging and labeling requirements and a mandate that manufacturers disclose their ingredient list with state regulators.

It does not prohibit online sales.

For the second time this session, a bill stopping local communities from banning short-term rentals such as Airbnb failed to advance on the House floor.

 

House Speaker Brian Bosma says legislative leaders have agreed to a road funding plan in principle. Leadership will now take the plan to their caucuses for approval.

Though stingy on details, Bosma calls the agreed-upon plan the “strongest road investment” in state history.

“I can tell that you we believe – after a lot of discussion with the Senate – that we’ve met our mutual goals of long-term, comprehensive road funding,” Bosma says.

Legislation making the state schools superintendent an appointed position is in limbo as the House weighs its options.

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