Indiana General Assembly

The Indiana Senate passed a statewide smoking ban Wednesday.  However, lawmakers still have work to be done before the bill can reach the governor.

The House has passed the ban six consecutive years, but Wednesday marked the first time it even got a vote in the Senate.  Opponents of the bill say it violates property rights and individual freedoms.

State Senator Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) says the smoking ban is government intrusion into business and he worries about the precedent it sets.

Two bills making their way through the General Assembly this session would make changes to the state’s inheritance tax, and its elimination may be the ultimate result.

A bill in a Senate committee would establish a new center for deaf and hard of hearing education.  However, some in the deaf community are pushing back against the idea.

An Indiana House committee made changes to a Senate bill Thursday dealing with the state’s automatic taxpayer refund trigger. 

The current trigger for an automatic taxpayer refund is 10% of the state budget. That currently equals about $1.4 billion.  The Senate bill raises the trigger after this year to about $2 billion, which is about 15% of the state budget.  House Ways and Means committee chair Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale) says he’s open to the concept of raising the threshold.

A bill in the Indiana Senate would boost compensation to State Fair stage collapse victims and give more money to full-day kindergarten.  The money comes from recently-discovered state revenues.

The bill would distribute $5 million among the victims on top of the $5 million already disbursed through the state’s tort claim fund.  The money would be given to the estates of those who died and fully-reimburse the medical expenses submitted by the other victims.

Under a bill currently in the state Senate people who commit Class D felonies could have their crimes converted to misdemeanors 3 years after conviction. 

The legislation would allow offenders with non-violent, non-sex related D felonies to apply to a judge for conversion to a Class A misdemeanor. That change means they could truthfully say they hadn’t been convicted of a felony when applying for a job.

Filing Closes for May's Primary Ballot

Feb 10, 2012

The primary race for the Indiana state house is taking shape.

Republican Don Lehe is seeking re-election, but in a newly drawn district.

He will face a primary challenge from fellow Republican Franklyn Voorhies in District 25, which includes parts of Tippecanoe, White, Cass, Carroll, and Clinton counties

In District 13, which touches parts of eight counties including Benton, Fountain, and Tippecanoe, three candidates filed for the Republican nomination.  Dan Young, Sharon Negele, and Stephen Aichner are all running.

A former Lafayette City Councilman is running for a seat in Indianapolis.

Democrat Rick Cornstuble announced he will pursue the House District 26 currently held by Randy Truitt.

Cornstuble says education, local government reform, and job creation are among his top priorities and areas he thinks the current leadership is falling short.

He sat on the city council for four years before losing his re-election bid to Jerry Reynolds in November.  Cornstuble says his time serving the city prepared him for the state legislature campaign.

 

The Indiana House has added more exemptions to its statewide smoking ban, but supporters still think the bill can pass the General Assembly.

The bill originally exempted the gaming floors of gambling facilities, cigar and hookah bars, tobacco shops and social clubs.  But in order to help facilitate its passage, bill author State Representative Eric Turner (R-Cicero) expanded the gambling facility exemption to incorporate the entire property, including any bars, hotels or restaurants.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is calling on the General Assembly to get a human trafficking bill passed in time for the Super Bowl, February 5. 

A bill closing gaps in Indiana’s human trafficking laws has been on a fast track through the Assembly.  The Senate passed it unanimously, but it’s been held up by unrest in the House.  Now, with Super Bowl festivities arriving in Indianapolis, Zoeller is urging the legislature to act quickly.

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