Indiana Legislative Session Enters Final Day
By Mike Perleberg
Indiana House of Representatives. File photo.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Wednesday is the last chance for Indiana lawmakers to pass legislation this year.
The 2018 legislative session comes to an end at the close of business today. There are a number of topics left to address, including a proposal that would allow young immigrants referred to as DREAMERs – those brought into the U.S. illegally as children – to obtain state professional licenses.
The licenses range from a variety of professions, from cosmetologists and plumbers to bartenders and nurses. Republican Governor Eric Holcomb has spoken out in favor of the bill, which remains in conference committee.
An estimated 9,000 DREAMERs live in the state.
Legislators may also focus part of their final day of session on approving using $5 million form the state’s reserves to boost a school safety grant program.
The gun control debate was front and center at the Statehouse on Monday. Lawmakers had cooled on bills to remove fees for lifetime concealed carry permits issued in Indiana and allow church visitors to carry a gun on church or school property following the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
But on Monday, conference committee chairman Sen. Ben Smaltz inserted the language from those bills into House Bill 1214, which was originally intended for the regulation of CBD oil.
“Today’s furtive maneuver by the chairman of the conference committee, removing CBD oil language that would provide relief to ailing Hoosiers and instead inserting firearm language thought to be dead, is yet another highly questionable tactic exhibited by majority members of the General Assembly,” said Indiana Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson).
The language to regulate the sale and use of cannabidiol, a hemp extract containing low levels of THC used by individuals to reduce seizures and help with other ailments, was removed.
“Now, language that has nothing to do with the subject matter of the original bill has been inserted into the conference committee report, where no amendments can be offered or real change debated. I regret having to say it, but this is the legislature operating at its absolute worst,” Lanane added.
Meanwhile, legislators on Monday dumped a plan to allow public schools to hire unlicensed teachers. The bill by State Senator Andy Zay (R-Huntington) would have allowed schools to fill up to 10 percent of their teaching positions with individuals who may be working toward a license, but have not yet received one. The proposal was pitched as a way to help school districts fill vacancies as the state is experiencing a teacher shortage.