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Several Bills Still Undecided As Indiana Session Wraps Up

Committees must still agree on the language of bills before the end of the legislative session.

The right to work bill may have dominated the first half of this year’s General Assembly, but that does not mean Indiana lawmaker’s work is over. Several bills are in conference committee where lawmakers are working to reconcile differences between separate House and Senate versions.

One of those bills would turn underperforming Indiana schools into turnaround academies, meaning the state would employ an outside entity to run the school until it catches up with the state’s established education standards. Representative Vernon Smith says the bill is one he would like to see die.

“This move to privatize all of our public schools has me concerned and many of my colleagues concerned, so we are fighting this effort,” he says.

Another bill stalled in committee is the proposed statewide smoking ban. Similar bills have been introduced over previous sessions, only to die before final versions could be hammered out.

Representative Jim Banks says the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill come down to which, if any, establishments should be exempt from the ban’s provisions.

“The House passed a smoking ban bill that exempted casinos, and the Senate version exempted about everything else,” he says. “So we have differences of opinion on both sides. So, now we have to hammer some of those out.”

Any legislative business that does not conclude by Friday would have to be taken care of in a special session. And it would be up to the governor whether to call one.

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