Indiana General Assembly

State of Indiana / http://in.gov/

Indiana’s sales tax revenues have under-performed this fiscal year, and a new revenue forecast predicts the state won’t collect as much as previously predicted. 

That has Republican legislative leaders looking at the causes and effects.

Sales tax collections are down more than 3 percent from expected levels through nearly half of the fiscal year. 

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Indiana’s synthetic drug law bars the sale of certain compounds and look-alikes, while allowing the pharmacy board to add new compounds to the list of banned substances. 

Two of the first people convicted under the law challenged the statute, claiming it was too vague to be constitutional. 

They also argued the General Assembly couldn’t delegate that much authority to an administrative agency, and the state Court of Appeals agreed.  But the Supreme Court went the other way. 

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

The Indiana General Assembly has three vacancies to fill this month before it returns to work January 6th. Republican precinct leaders in northeast Indiana meet Thursday in Huntington, and are expected to name Columbia City Senator Jim Banks‘ wife Amanda to fill in for him while he‘s on active duty with the Navy.

Republicans must also replace Representatives Steve Braun of Zionsville and Eric Turner of Cicero.

State Chairman Tim Berry says three candidates have already filed for Braun’s seat, and at least four more are considering it.

Larry Darling / https://www.flickr.com/photos/tncountryfan/

A lawsuit over whether school districts can charge parents fees for transportation will go before the Indiana Supreme Court.   The state Court of Appeals transferred the case involving Franklin Township Schools to the state Supreme Court, though it isn‘t clear whether the court will agree to hear the case. In June, the appeals court reversed a verdict from a Marion County Superior Court judge, ruling that charging fees for busing was unconstitutional.

Ask The Mayor: Frankfort's Chris McBarnes

Oct 16, 2014
City of Frankfort

Some questions asked of the mayor this week:

As we gear up for the next session of the General Assembly, which will be devoted to crafting a new two-year budget, what will you be doing to try and convince lawmakers to funnel more money toward infrastructure improvements?

House Republicans announced their legislative agenda this week. In a nutshell, it includes more funding for schools, while maintaining a balanced budget and a strong surplus. What are your initial reactions to the agenda?

State of Indiana

Governor Pence says he‘ll roll out his legislative agenda sometime between Election Day and New Year‘s.

"We're in the process of crafting first our budget, which will encompass the great deal of the agenda that we bring into this session," says Pence. "We're also developing, in consultation with members of the General Assembly, a broad range of policy proposals. This is a budget session so the budget will really be a priority."

Chuck Olsen / https://www.flickr.com/photos/blogumentary/

A panel of business and industry leaders began a process Thursday of reviewing hundreds of professions licensed by Indiana. 

The committee will help lawmakers potentially overhaul the state’s licensing system.

Phil Jern / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjern/

3:00 p.m. update:

The federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday upheld Indiana’s Right to Work law as constitutional.  The ruling comes days before the law is challenged at the Indiana Supreme Court:

Indiana’s Right to Work law bans union contracts that require nonmembers pay fees for representation.  The International Operating Engineers union filed two lawsuits in the wake of the bill’s passage in 2012 – one in federal court, another in state court. 

After a 2013 session that produced several significant bills on children’s issues – including creation of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children – lawmakers say the 2014 session could be much quieter on the subject.

The panel has purview over more than 30 boards and committees dealing with children’s issues.  Those issues include access to resources for vulnerable youth, mental health issues, drug abuse among young people and infant mortality.

Representative Milo Smith (R-Columbus) has been trying without luck for three sessions to pass legislation changing how mopeds are licensed and regulated in Indiana.  He thinks an increase in attention to the issue gives him reason to believe the fourth time’s the charm.

The past three sessions, Smith’s moped legislation has passed the House but died in the Senate.  He says its failure is due in large part to a philosophy in the General Assembly of less, not more regulation.  But he says leaving mopeds unregulated affects all drivers.

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