One of the measures Governor Mike Pence has turned his attention to is a bill toughening sentences for the worst criminals while reducing penalties and focusing on rehabilitation for first-time, non-violent offenders, notably those convicted of low-level drug offenses. Pence says he supports second chances for first-time offenders but does not want the state to reduce penalties for any drug crimes.
Meanwhile, a House committee dramatically altered a bill aimed at helping Indiana’s gaming facilities face increasing competition from surrounding states. When the bill left the Senate, it contained tax breaks for the state’s casinos, allowed riverboats to move their facilities on land and put live table games in racetrack casinos. Now, only the tax breaks remain.
Many in the House, including Speaker Brian Bosma, considered moving riverboats on land and live games at the racinos to be gaming expansion. The Senate is expected to dissent if the bill passes the full House.
The House also passed legislation providing in-state college tuition to all recent military veterans, even those who previously lived outside Indiana. The measure will also lock in combat veterans’ first year tuition for all four years of college.