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How The Top Issues Fared In The 2014 Legislative Session

The Indiana legislature passed a number of key issues this year, many of them controversial.

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Photo: OZinOH (Flickr)

The Indiana legislature wrapped up Thursday, March 13, 2014.

The 2014 legislative session will largely be remembered for the outcome of one measure – HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.  But the General Assembly also produced business tax cuts, the beginnings of state-funded preschool, and money for the state’s major highways.

Here’s a look at the top issues and what happened to them in this legislative session.

Tanning Beds- Passed

The State Department of Health will have to create new regulations banning minors of a certain age from using tanning beds. Currently 16 year olds with parental permission can tan, and legislative leaders wanted to get rid of that regulation.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome- Passed

Under the law, hospitals will be required to report infant patients born with the disease, which comes from being exposed to addictive drugs in utero.

Legislators hope reporting of the issue will help medical professionals understand the breadth of the issue in Indiana.

Abortion Doctors- Passed

Doctors who perform abortions would be required to have admitting privileges or have agreements with a doctor who has admitting privileges at hospitals.

Controversy over the issue was over the identity of the doctors being available to the public, and leaving them open to harassment.

Concussions- Passed

Indiana will be the first state to require youth football coaches to go through concussion prevention training to ensure player safety.

The law will apply to any coach, not just high school, who coach youth football teams.

Criminal Code- Passed

For the past five years, the legislature has been working to overhaul the criminal code to keep low-level, non-violent offenders out of jail.

The bill is waiting for Governor Pence’s approval.

Marriage Amendment - Passed but process restarted

The proposed amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman passed this year, but not without some major setbacks.

The legislature removed the second sentence of the amendment that banned civil unions and restarted the amendment process. The measure must now be re-approved in 2015 or 2016 before it can go to the voters for a referendum.

Pre-Kindergarten - Passed

One of the cornerstones of Gov. Mike Pence’s agenda was a preschool pilot program.

The House approved a pilot program that would provide vouchers to one thousand low-income Hoosier children in five counties to attend high quality preschools.

The bill heads to the governor’s desk where he is expected to sign it.

Road Funding - Passed

Hoosiers will soon see construction work on the state’s major interstates as the legislature releases at least $200 million in transportation funds to INDOT.

Last year’s budget included $400 million in a transportation fund for long-term, future projects, but the governor wants the money now, and the General Assembly delivered, sending him half the money.

The other $200 million will be released to INDOT after approval by the state budget committee.

Business Personal Property Tax – Passed

Lawmakers also worked out a deal reforming the state’s business personal property tax, a levy on business equipment that generates $1 billion a year statewide for local governments.

The House and Senate initially had two very different ideas of how to implement Pence’s goal of phasing out the tax. The original House plan would have allowed local governments to eliminate the tax on new equipment purchases.

The original Senate plan eliminated the tax statewide on small businesses. The final product adopts the House plan and makes the Senate’s small business cut a local decision as well.

Guns in School Parking Lots - Passed

The legislature passed a bill allowing licensed gun owners to keep their guns locked out of sight in their cars on school property.

The measure heads to the governor for approval.

Welfare Drug Testing – Died

Legislation that would have required drug testing for some welfare recipients died in the late hours on the last day of the legislative session.

This is the third consecutive time the bill has failed to garner enough votes for passage.

Legalizing Hemp - Passed

Indiana producers could soon start growing hemp if it is for research. A bill the legislature has sent to the governor legalizes hemp production in Indiana, but federal laws still only allow it to be grown by universities or state departments of agriculture for research purposes.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • James Hunter

    What about the CONTINUED attacks on worker protections? What about Indiana’s woefully atrocious environmental record?

    FAILED GOP LEADERSHIP!

    Too bad our State is being sold to the likes of the Koch brothers. Shame on us all…

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