Jim Merritt

Elliott Bledsoe / https://www.flickr.com/photos/elliottbledsoe/

The Senate has unanimously endorsed a first step toward creating "baby boxes" for abandoned newborns.

Since 2000, Indiana has had a "safe haven" law allowing babies to be dropped off anonymously at hospitals or fire stations. A House bill would go a step further and allow the installation of incubator dropboxes.

Rep. Casey Cox (R-Fort Wayne) says there have been cases in which parents don‘t trust the promise of anonymity and abandon infants in parks or trash bins -- exactly the scenario the safe haven law was intended to prevent.

Energy Efficiency Bill Awaits Gov's Signature

Apr 8, 2015
Richard Rutter / https://www.flickr.com/photos/clagnut/

An energy efficiency plan requested by Governor Pence is on its way to his desk.

The Senate has given final approval to a bill requiring electric utilities to submit conservation plans to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission every three years.

Senate Utilities Chairman Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) says by going through the IURC instead of an outside agency, the plan will be cheaper than the Energize Indiana plan implemented by former Governor Mitch Daniels – a program that was repealed by the legislature last year.

Steve Baker / https://www.flickr.com/photos/littlebiglens

  Law enforcement crisis training is closer to becoming a statewide requirement now that the House has passed a bill advising more funding for it.

Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) says there isn’t currently enough training teaching police how to handle a crisis, such as a mental health issue or a diabetic attack. Stoops says the bill would make law enforcement communication safer and more effective.

“Treatment typically costs about a dollar for every six dollars we would’ve spent on incarceration. So it’s a very cost-effective approach as well,” Stoops says.

courtesy Christina Hale

The feeding frenzy sure to follow the announcement of a U.S. Senate seat coming open in Indiana commenced in earnest Wednesday, with a bevy of current and former politicians saying they’re considering trying to replace Dan Coats (R-IN).

Rep. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), who toyed with running for Indy mayor before deciding against it, now says he thinks his platform may be better suited for an even higher office.

New Energy Efficiency Program Faces Criticism

Mar 2, 2015
Armistead Booker / https://www.flickr.com/photos/armisteadbooker/

Despite its easy approval by the Senate, legislation establishing a new energy efficiency program for the state faces heavy criticism from environmental and consumer advocacy groups.  Much of the outcry comes because of what’s known as “lost revenue recovery.”

Bill That Lists Synthetic Drug Compounds Passes Committee

Feb 19, 2015
Jake May / https://www.flickr.com/photos/44114501@N03/

A Senate committee passed a bill Wednesday that would clarify the state’s prohibition on synthetic drugs and the compounds used to make them.

The legislation comes after an existing law was overturned by a state appellate court.

In a 2-1 decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s law on synthetic drugs and compounds is too vague for the average citizen to understand.

In response, Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, authored Senate Bill 93, which would list all illegal substances used in these drugs within the state’s administrative code.

Flickr Creative Commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/intropin/4499124890

Last year, the General Assembly approved a bill allowing emergency medical technicians and first responders to use naloxone, a drug used to halt the effects of an overdose from drugs such as heroin. 

Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) says naloxone saves lives, and its success last year led to this year’s bill, which allows anyone to get a prescription for the drug.

“Go to the pharmacy, get the prescription, have it on their person, and possibly save the life of an addict in their house or someone on the cul-de-sac, in their community,” Merritt says.

Patrick Finnegan / https://www.flickr.com/photos/vax-o-matic/

A state Senate committee approved legislation Thursday creating a new energy efficiency program, which would largely be directed by utility companies, to replace the one lawmakers eliminated last year.

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

Indiana law regulates how much beer Indiana’s small brewers can make each year and sell in state. The current limit is 30 thousand barrels.

Most businesses aren’t even close to that. But Sun King Brewery out of Indianapolis and Munster’s 3 Floyds Brewing Company are both near that mark.

Sun King co-founder Dave Colt says if the legislature doesn’t raise the ceiling, Sun King will be forced to make difficult decisions.

Brandon Smith / http://www.ipbs.org/

The Indiana attorney general is proposing legislation he says would close legal loopholes and better protect Hoosiers from data breaches and identity theft.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says notable data breaches, such as those on Sony, Target and Home Depot, have consumers worried about ID theft, so he wants to bring some peace of mind to Hoosiers with legislation he’s pushing that would require companies that store consumer data to regularly review and delete that information.

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