Indiana lawmakers are about halfway through the 2018 legislative session, and a few important deadlines have already effectively killed hundreds of measures.
In a non-budget year, lawmakers have less time to consider and vote on proposed bills.
Last week marked deadlines for measures to be passed out of committee. Bills passed on to the House floor have to be heard by the end of the day Monday or they can’t advance. Similarly, measures not advanced out of the Senate by end-of-day Tuesday are dead.
But how the bill dies makes a difference: if lawmakers vote down a measure, it’s absolutely dead. But if a bill simply doesn’t get a hearing on the floor, its subject matter can be amended into another, relevant bill later on.
Here are some of the measure that didn’t make it out of committee this session:
Hate crimes bill fails to get a vote
Attempts to pass a hate crimes law have failed the past several legislative sessions, but advocates were hopeful this year would be different. This session’s bill would have allowed a judge to impose harsher penalties if the crime was committed in part because of a victim’s characteristics.
But a Senate committee declined to vote on the bill. Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says he’ll push for the bill to come back next year and notes some issues take years to reach the finish line.
Efforts to give undocumented students in-state tuition not considered
Indiana is one of three states with a law that prohibits state colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition to undocumented high school graduates. Four separate bills that would have granted undocumented students in-state tuition failed to get hearings in committee.
Township reform dies quietly on House floor
Legislation to force about 300 of Indiana’s townships to consolidate quietly died in the House. The bill didn’t get called for a vote on the House’s deadline day after its author says she couldn’t find enough support in her caucus.
Student press freedom bill fails on House floor
Rep. Ed Clere’s (R-New Albany) bill would prevent school officials from censoring student journalists’ content or disciplining students because of what they produce.
The House voted 47 to 45 for the bill. But legislation needs at least 51 votes to pass.
Solar “fix” dies in committee
Last session, lawmakers passed a controversial energy bill that, in part, reduces incentives for smaller solar projects. Rep. Dave Ober (R-Albion) proposed a measure that would have tweaked that new law, making it easier for schools to finance solar projects.
The idea came out of a summer study committee. But, the measure didn’t get a hearing in the General Assembly this session.
Attempt to increase minimum smoking age to 21
This bill actually did get an affirmative vote in one committee, but General Assembly leadership later said it also should have gone through another committee because it would have a fiscal impact. That announcement came after the committee deadline last week.
Bill to regulate factory farms fails to get a hearing
House Environmental Affairs Committee Chair Dave Wolkins (R-Warsaw) decided not to hear a bill that deals with confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.
Controversy has sprung up around CAFOs in recent years as nearby homeowners complain about environmental effects and declining property values. Wolkins says the bill went too far. He says he’ll work with advocates on the issue after session.
Lunch shaming measure dies in committee
Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) wanted to prohibit schools from so-called “lunch shaming” practices. His measure would ban schools from publicly identifying students who can’t afford to pay for their lunches. The bill didn’t get a hearing in the Education and Career Development Committee.
State forest protections from logging
Three different measures would have set aside portions of state forest properties to be protected from timber harvest. All were referred to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and failed to get a hearing. Similar attempts in previous years have failed to get out of committee.
Cold beer sales dead…for now
A Senate committee overwhelmingly voted down a bill to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell cold beer.
Liquor stores argue their industry would be devastated by such a move; supporters of the expansion say it’s what consumers want. Legislative leaders declared the cold beer push dead for this session.
Meanwhile, bills that would legalize alcohol sales on Sundays are moving forward with significant support.
Equal pay efforts miss committee deadlines
A bill each in the House and Senate would have addressed wage inequality in the state by holding employers more accountable and giving the Indiana Civil Rights Commission authority to investigate employee complaints about pay gaps.
Both bills missed the deadline to advance out of committee.
Legalizing assisted suicide
Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) introduced legislation that would have legalized assisted suicide for Hoosiers with a terminal illness and no more than six months to live.
The bill would have established rigorous procedures, including paperwork, multiple physicians, two witnesses who cannot be connected to the patient, and potential counseling to determine if the person is competent to make the decision.
The measure failed to get a hearing in the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code.
Identifying lead poisoning in children
Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) introduced Senate Bill 322 this session, but it never got a hearing. The proposal would require all healthcare providers to give a lead poisoning questionnaire to children who are 6-years-old or younger and on Medicaid.