NewsPublic Affairs / February 22, 2019

Weekly Statehouse Update: Hate Crimes Revised, House GOP Budget Proposal

A hate crimes bill clears the Senate amid outrage. House Republicans unveil their budget proposal. And the House approves an alcohol regulations bill. Heres what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.2019-02-22T00:00:00-05:00
Article origination IPBS-RJC
Weekly Statehouse Update: Hate Crimes Revised, House GOP Budget Proposal

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A hate crimes bill clears the Senate amid outrage. House Republicans unveil their budget proposal. And the House approves an alcohol regulations bill.

Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

Hate Crimes Legislation

A Senate committee began the week by passing a hate crimes bill that included a list of victim characteristics. But a day later, Senate Republicans stripped out that list on the floor, drawing criticism from – among others – Gov. Eric Holcomb. They followed that up by sending the watered-down bill to the House, even as one of the measure’s co-authors voted against it.

House GOP Proposed Budget

The House GOP’s proposed budget increases education funding by a little more than two percent each year, about the rate of inflation. But it does go along with Holcomb’s plan to use one-time dollars from the state’s budget reserves to help reduce teacher pension costs for schools.

The House Republican caucus rejected more than two dozen amendments offered by Democrats, including proposals to raise the cigarette tax, earmark money directly for teacher pay, and fund the Hoosier State Rail Line.

Alcohol Legislation

And House-approved legislation would let local communities vote, via referenda, to increase the quotas for alcohol permits in their boundaries – allowing more restaurants and liquor stores to sell alcohol. The measure also requires clerks at grocery stores to go through training before ringing up alcohol.

Abortion Regulation

Legislation to largely ban a second trimester abortion procedure is headed to the Indiana Senate.

The legislation bans dilation and evacuation abortions, or D&Es, unless there’s a serious health risk to the woman. Bill supporters claim the procedure is barbaric, though many in the medical community say it’s the safest way to terminate a pregnancy in the second trimester.

Electric Scooters Regulation

Indiana House lawmakers overwhelmingly approved legislation Wednesday to create some regulations for electric scooters.

The bill largely lets local communities set out rules for the burgeoning industry.

Payday Lending Caps

Legislation that would slash allowable interest rates for payday lenders will now go to the Indiana Senate floor.

The bill would limit payday lenders to a 36 percent interest rate, a reduction of more than 90 percent from the current limit of 391 percent for a two-week small loan.

Redistricting Reform Halted

Indiana Senate Republicans rebuffed Democrats’ attempt Monday to create an independent redistricting commission that would draw the state’s legislative district lines.

An amendment offered by Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) would have established that commission to largely take over the duties currently performed by lawmakers.

Gaming Bill Moves Forward

A Senate committee Thursday tightened the reins a little on major changes to the state’s gaming industry.

The big gaming bill originally moved an unused gaming license from Gary to Terre Haute, allowing a new casino to open there. A change last week would have allowed the license to move anywhere in the state – unsettling many gaming officials.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has now undone that change.

Water Infrastructure Funding

The state is one step closer to creating a program that would help cities pay for things like pipes and drains. A bill to fund water infrastructure improvements passed unanimously in the state House on Monday. 

Forty percent of the fund would go to help small water utilities. The bill’s co-author, Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington), says these big projects are often too expensive for ratepayers in small communities to shoulder on their own.

 

 

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