Halftime Report from the 2019 Indiana General Assembly
How has the OneZone priority agenda fared this session?
ALCOHOL: HB 1518 – Alcoholic Beverage Matters by Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn). The 2019 General Assembly’s omnibus alcohol bill for the session, the bill seeks to address the issue of the quota system of alcohol licenses for communities based on the U.S. Census. The bill gets rid of riverfront districts (while grandfathering the existing licenses) and instead allows cities and towns to create “entertainment revitalization areas” that could be drawn anywhere and receive alcohol licenses, which would have to be approved by voters in a referendum (which OneZone opposes). The bill passed the House by a vote of 81-16 and now heads to the Senate by the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ron Alting (R-Lafayette). BIAS CRIMES: HB 1020 – Hate Crimes by Rep. Tony Cook (R-Hamilton Heights). This bill originally drafted amended the aggravator section of the criminal code in regard to sentencing of certain crimes and also had requirements for reporting for law enforcement to the FBI. Included a list of protected classes – including sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill did not receive a hearing in the House and is now officially dead. SB 12 – Bias Motivated Crimes by Sen. Mike Bohacek (R-Michigan City). Nearly identical language to HB 1020, including a list of protected classes – including sexual orientation and gender identity when originally drafted. Passed out of Senate Public Policy committee by a vote of 9-1 and was significantly amended to remove the list of protected classes on the floor. It now only contains language that judges may consider “bias” when determining sentencing. It passed out of the Senate by a vote of 39-10 and will be sponsored by Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Danville) and Rep. Tony Cook. OPIOIDS: SB 33 – Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Centers by Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis). This legislation establishes certification and a grant program for comprehensive addiction recovery centers to be administered by the division of mental health and addiction. It also establishes the comprehensive addiction recovery center fund. The bill passed the Senate 49-0 and will now be taken up by the House under the sponsorship of Rep. Cindy Kirchoffer (R-Indianapolis) SB 141 – Office Based Opioid Treatment Providers by Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem). Specifies requirements that a health care provider that prescribes for a patient in an office-based opioid treatment setting must meet in the treatment of the patient. The medical licensing board, state department of health, and the office of family social services agency will adopt protocols concerning office-based treatment providers. The bill passed the Senate 42-6 and will be heard in the House with Rep. Ben Smaltz as the sponsor. REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES: SB 563 – Economic Development by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle). This bill creates a Redevelopment Tax Credit – which can be used for any type of facility to help communities and provides that a taxpayer can claim the credit against their state tax liability if the taxpayer makes a qualified investment for the redevelopment or rehab of real property located within a qualified redevelopment site and the qualified investment is approved by the IEDC. This legislation also makes the Venture Capital Investment tax credit transferable to increase investment by out-of-state investors without the Indiana tax liability. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 45-4 and will be shepherded through by Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers). SCHOOL SAFETY: HB 1004 – School Safety by Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville). The House Republican omnibus school safety bill, it further outlines requirements and how grants can be used from Indiana safe schools fund and the Indiana secured school fund matching grants. The bill passed the full House by a vote of 96-2 and will move through the Senate by Senator Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond). HB 1398 – Information Concerning Threats to School Safety by Rep. Tony Cook. This legislation requires a law enforcement agency or private university police department to share private investigatory records with a school corporation for the purpose of enhancing the safety of a student or school corporation. The bill passed the House by a vote of 94-2 and will move through the Senate under the leadership of Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield). HB 1651 – Judicial Evaluation of Dangerous Individuals by Rep. Donna Schaibley (R-Carmel). A follow-up to Indiana’s “Jake Laird’s” law from 2005, which would allow police to temporarily confiscate weapons from certain dangerous people. This year’s bill seeks to fix a gap in the existing law which would prevent these dangerous people from having the ability from purchasing firearms moving forward. The bill passed the House by a vote of 90-2 and heads to the Senate with Sen. Erin Houchin as the sponsor. TOBACCO REFORM: SB 425 – Minimum Age to Purchase Tobacco and E-Liquids by Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport). This legislation raises the selling and purchasing age of tobacco or e-liquids and electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 but exempted veterans or active duty military personnel. The bill passed out of Senate Health committee and was recommitted to Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy committee where it did not receive a hearing due to the fiscal impact of the bill. With less people smoking, there is less tax revenue generated into the general fund. HB 1444 – Taxation of Electronic Cigarettes by Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville). This bill imposes a tax on electronic cigarettes at a rate of $0.04 per milliliter with the funds to be deposited in the state general fund. The bill passed the House by a vote of 53-40 and moved to the Senate to be carried by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso).