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Government News

Medical Marijuana Advocates Rally, Legislation Filed

Jan 3, 2018

As the 2018 Indiana General Assembly gets underway, a bill to legalize medical marijuana has been filed. But this year’s proposal may have more momentum.

Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) spoke at a rally at the Statehouse to announce his bill to legalize cannabis for anyone with a serious medical condition. This is not the first bill filed with that aim, but Lucas is hopeful and says he started researching cannabis after the legality of CBD was questioned.

“Why aren’t we one of the 29 states that don’t criminalize its citizens for seeking a better quality of life?” Lucas says.

Republican legislative leaders indicated Wednesday they will likely not take any significant action in the 2018 session to address issues at the Department of Child Services.

Democrats want the General Assembly to exert its oversight authority on the embattled child welfare agency.

Lawmakers Announce Push To Expand Baby Box Locations

Jan 3, 2018

Lawmakers in the 2018 session want to spread the use of so-called “baby boxes” in Indiana. New legislation would expand last year’s law that legalized the devices meant to serve as a more anonymous way for someone to leave an unwanted newborn.

Courtesy Indiana Senate Republicans

A polarizing figure in the Indiana Senate will step down after the new year.

Republican Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) will resign just before the legislative session gets underway, to follow his wife to Washington, D.C., where both are taking new jobs.

Committee Chair Files Sunday Sales Bill

Dec 22, 2017

Legalized Sunday alcohol sales took an incremental step forward in the legislative process this week. Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) filed legislation on the issue for the 2018 session – as he previously said he would.

Alcohol Tax Increase Unlikely In 2018 Session

Dec 21, 2017

Indiana’s alcohol excise tax hasn’t changed in 36 years. And the state’s Alcohol Code Revision Commission thinks it should, recommending a 25 percent increase.

But Senate Public Policy Committee Chair Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) says that won’t happen in 2018.

DCS Chief, Holcomb Disagree On Agency Funding Levels

Dec 18, 2017

 

Indiana Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura says the well-being of Hoosier children has been put at risk because of steps taken by Governor Eric Holcomb’s administration.

Bonaventura’s sharp criticisms came in her resignation letter, delivered to Holcomb last week.

State Leaders Shrug Off Recent Revenue Shortfalls

Dec 18, 2017

 

State leaders are shrugging off concerns about recent tax revenue shortfalls, particularly with corporate tax collections. They say the underwhelming revenues are a result of explainable outside forces.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday the creation of a parental leave policy for state employees.

The new policy, open to all parents, will allow them to take up to four weeks paid leave within six months of the birth or adoption of a child.

Holcomb says the move is aimed at supporting families and ensuring the health of employees’ children.

“This is going to be centered on doing all that we can to recruit and retain the best state employee workforce that any state can boast,” Holcomb says.

Immigration Roundtable: 'Find A Solution For DACA, Now'

Dec 12, 2017

Hoosier community groups and businesses have a message for Indiana’s congressional delegation: find a solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act or DACA. The program allows minors who came to the country illegally to get an education and receive work permits.

It expires March 6, 2018 and the Trump administration has tasked Congress with finding a permanent replacement. There are several pending bills in Congress, including the DREAM act, which would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

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