IBJNews

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

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • 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?"

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

ADVERTISEMENT