Statehouse update: Deer hunting, miscarriages, veteran education, Indiana-grown, and more

January 28, 2014

Here's a progress report on several bills that lawmakers weighed during Monday's session at the Indiana Statehouse:

High-fence deer hunting

A legislative panel approved a proposal that would allow fenced deer-hunting preserves around Indiana.

A state Senate committee voted 6-1 Monday to advance the bill to the full Senate. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Carlin Yoder of Middlebury, would set annual state inspections and require those preserves be at least 160 acres.

The proposal comes after a southern Indiana judge ruled last fall that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources overstepped its authority by issuing an emergency order banning the deer-hunting preserves in 2005.

The Indiana House has approved bills the past two years to legalize five existing preserves that continued operating under a court injunction. Those bills were blocked by Senate President Pro Tem David Long, who has said the high-fenced preserves don't offer real hunting.

College credit for veterans

Senate lawmakers approved an amendment Monday that would require state colleges and universities to give credit to military veterans who pass equivalency exams or take courses while in the service.

The bill aims to encourage veterans to become teachers and also would require state colleges to give financial aid to veterans accepted to the program.
Amendment author state Sen. Jim Banks of Columbia City said in a statement that the bill would give veterans a chance to apply their experience in the field toward a degree.

The amended bill is set to move to the full Senate this week. Both the full House and governor must also approve the bill before it becomes law.

Burial options for miscarriages

A bill that would give parents who miscarry before 20 weeks the right to bury the remains passed the House Public Policy Committee on Monday.

House Bill 1190 would also require a hospital or health care facility to provide counseling information to parents of a miscarried fetus.

Current state law does not allow parents to bury a fetus before 20 weeks into the pregnancy. The remains are instead treated as medical waste.

Rep. Harold Slager, R-Schereville, said the bill is meant to help inform parents of their options. Slager said he worked with the Funeral Directors Association and the Indiana Hospital Association to write the bill.

The bill moves to the full House.

Funding stripped from Indiana-grown bill

An amendment to strip a $5 million appropriation establishing the Indiana Grown Initiative passed the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday.

House Bill 1039, authored by Rep. Matthew Lehman, R- Berne, had previously passed the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee before it went to Ways and Mean for further consideration.

Ways & Means Chairman Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, said he did not feel more funding could be allocated from the state for the new commission. After a short discussion, the committee passed the amendment to strip the money out of the bill. It now moves to the full House for consideration.

The bill is meant to bolster a program that promotes Indiana-grown produce and meat.

Selling seedlings out of state

A bill that would allow state nurseries to sell their excess stock out of state passed a Senate committee Monday, but not before it was amended to limit the number of plants that could be exported.

Senate Bill 177 would allow private nurseries from other states to purchase excess seedlings directly from the Department of Natural Resources at or below the production cost. The bill would amend a 2007 statue prohibiting out-of-state sales.

The amendment would cap the production of nursery stock by 15 percent over the previous year’s production. Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel said the amendment addresses the committee’s concerns that out-of-state sales would encourage the DNR to keep increasing its stock and begin competing with private businesses.

It now moves to the full Senate for consideration.


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