Business is continuing at a fast pace as lawmakers work through lengthy committee hearings and floor calendars. This brief summary includes some of the legislative action recently taken by the State Senate and House of Representatives.
The House approved several bills which are awaiting final consideration by the governor. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 47 would make several changes to Indiana’s laws regarding riverboat casinos, including the elimination of a requirement that the boats have motors and crews, allowing the boats to remain permanently docked. The measure would also allow casinos to host large card tournaments at hotels and other meeting sites located on property owned or leased by the casinos. These changes would provide the riverboats more flexibility and allow them to be competitive with anticipated casino expansion in surrounding states.
SEA 549 would establish the Indiana Public Retirement System to administer and manage the state’s 10 pension funds. Expected to be signed into law, the bill would create a nine-member Board of Trustees appointed by the governor to oversee and make investment decisions on state retirement funds for public employees, teachers, judges, prosecuting attorneys, excise police, conservation and gaming officers, police, firefighters and state legislators. Lawmakers expect SEA 549 will lower administrative and investment costs and generate higher investment returns.
The House Education Committee made substantial changes to SB 577, a bill pertaining to the state’s 21st Century Scholars program and another scholarship program designed to help the children of disabled veterans attend college. The 21st Century Scholars program provides scholarships for children of low income families. SB 577 included changes to the program which would have tightened up financial and academic requirements. Under changes made by the House committee, all language pertaining to that program was removed from the bill. For the children of disabled veterans, the bill now provides that scholarships issued must be used before age 32, all federal tuition aid must be used first, and parents must reside in Indiana.
April 18 Deadline for Senate committee hearings on House bills
April 21 Deadline for Senate to consider House bills
April 29 By law, session must conclude business and adjourn by midnight
To stay informed about bills moving through the General Assembly or to track legislation, log on to www.in.gov/legislative. From this site, you can also watch House and Senate committee hearings and session floor debate.
For information on the redistricting process, go to the Senate Democrats’ web site at http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_democrats/redistricting.