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Weekly Statehouse Update: Hate Crimes, Payday Loans

The Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Senate Republicans killed a hate crimes bill, an independent consultant delivered the first progress report of its DCS evaluation, and the House voted to create a new type of payday loan. Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

Get daily updates on the legislative session here.

Hate Crimes Bill Dies…Again

This session’s hate crimes 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 didn’t even vote on the bill – which Senate GOP Leader David Long says was a decision of his caucus.

Still, he says he’ll push for the bill to come back next year and notes some issues take years to reach the finish line.

First Report On DCS Assessment

An independent consultant offered its first progress report this week of an assessment of the Department of Child Services, which began Jan. 2. The outside group has already identified an agency issue: an ineffective data system.

Neither new DCS Director Terry Stigdon nor the governor’s office will say if the agency will move to upgrade its system this year.

WATCH: Live Q&A With Statehouse Reporter Brandon Smith

CBD Legalization Moves On With Widespread Support

Cannabidiol, or CBD, would become legal for anyone in the state of Indiana under legislation unanimously approved by the full House.

There are several bills dealing with the issue this session, in both chambers. The measure approved Tuesday takes the simplest approach. The House voted 93-0 to advance the bill to the Senate.

School Financial Management Bill

After a second long discussion in two days, House lawmakers approved a school financials bill that, among other things, would let Ball State University take responsibility for Muncie Community Schools.

The bill now goes to the Senate side of the General Assembly for consideration.

Payday Loans

The House this week approved legislation to create a new type of payday loan…with an interest rate of up to 200 percent. The loans of anywhere between about $600 to $1,500 are meant to help those with poor credit. But critics argue the high interest rate amounts to predatory lending.

Increased Smoking Age Dies Unexpectedly

House Republicans effectively killed legislation Tuesday that would have raised Indiana’s minimum smoking age to 21 years old.

The House Public Health Committee unanimously approved the bill Monday, sending it to the floor. But Speaker Brian Bosma announced Tuesday that, since the bill has a fiscal impact, it also needed to go through the House Ways and Means Committee – and because Tuesday was a committee passage deadline, the bill can’t advance this session.

Abortion Reporting Requirements

The Indiana Senate approved legislation Tuesday to require doctors and clinics to send more information to the state about women who receive abortions.

The measure also adds new details about a woman to reports sent to the state following an abortion. Current law requires information such as age of the woman, date of the abortion, and age of the father. The bill adds details that include the woman’s race, ethnicity, and the number of her deceased children.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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