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It's make-or-break time for several bills at Statehouse

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Indiana lawmakers approved a number of bills Wednesday but will try to settle some of the tougher fights later during the 2014 legislative session.

The General Assembly gave final approval to measures that would improve state oversight of private bus inspections, increase digital privacy, help more veterans enter teaching and grant excused absences for students attending the Indiana State Fair. Lawmakers also created a task force to study long-term answers to the state's transportation funding troubles.

More contentious bills scheduled for a vote Wednesday were pushed off for approval later in the session, which ends next week.

A proposal to study sexual assault in Indiana and protect minors from prosecution if they report drug overdoses or other health emergencies didn't make it to the floor, and a measure to require warrants for police to use aerial drones also was delayed.

Senators did not vote on a measure that would effectively kill a state energy efficiency program after a band of business owners and advocates rallied against the bill that morning.

The measure originally would have allowed industries that use 1 megawatt or more of electricity to pull out of the Energizing Indiana program. The House later changed the bill to prohibit the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission from extending or beginning new contracts with the program after this year.

The bill would also prevent the IURC from requiring an energy efficiency program or extending current regulations after this year.

"Utilities will go back to the way things were — running energy efficiency programs only if, how and when they want to," said Jodi Perras, Indiana spokeswoman for Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. "If that's not killing the Energizing Indiana program, I don't know what is."

Gov. Mike Pence will now decide whether to sign the bills on his desk into law or let them become law without his signature. Pence can veto measures, but vetoes are easily overridden in Indiana with a simple majority in either chamber.

The major pieces of Pence's 2014 agenda are still being debated. They include business tax cuts and a preschool voucher program.

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  • Get the Session Over With ASAP
    OMG! Do Indiana legislators really have to be the ones that decide that students can be excused from class to attend the State Fair? Oh yes, they are also the ones that want to tell food stamp recipients what they can eat. Good thing this session is a short one--these folks can crawl back into their holes before they do more damage. What happened to the super majorities' concepts of "limited government?"

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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