Governor Mike Pence was able to declare almost total victory Thursday in the wake of the 2015 session despite early skepticism from the General Assembly for much of his agenda.
There were several items on the governor’s agenda that lawmakers were at least hesitant to fully support. That includes a significant boost to charter school funding, dollars for next year’s state Bicentennial celebration, a major investment in Pence’s Regional Cities Initiative, along with the proposed balanced budget amendment to the state constitution.
Republican legislative leaders say they want to help turn the tide against the backlash that’s erupted over Indiana’s so-called religious freedom bill. They say that will involve making it clear the law does not allow discrimination.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s recommendations for inclusion of e-cigarettes in the state’s smoking ban almost certainly won’t be included in legislation regulating the vaping industry.
Zoeller made regulating e-cigarettes one of his priorities this session. And while proposed legislation aims to regulate the makers and sellers of e-liquids, which are used in e-cigs, the bill does nothing regarding e-cigarettes themselves.
House Speaker Brian Bosma Tuesday halted a bill opponents say significantly reduces incentives for Hoosiers to use alternative energy for their homes.
Proposed legislation made changes to the system by which utility companies purchase excess electricity from Hoosiers who produce energy through alternative means, such as solar panels. Utilities would buy that energy at a lower price, and be able to charge alternative energy users fixed monthly fees for using the energy grid.
Governor Mike Pence says he still hopes to alter a major sales tax exemption for Hoosier businesses after House lawmakers stripped out a change to the exemption from the governor’s tax legislation.
One of the biggest pieces of Governor Pence’s tax simplification bill was the elimination of what’s called the “double direct” test for determining business sales tax exemptions. The double direct test is a very specific metric for determining what items are exempt from the sales tax.
A House committee Tuesday unanimously approved a bill creating what Speaker Brian Bosma calls the first major ethics code revision in at least 20 years. The bill comes in the wake of several ethics scandals over the last year.
Bosma says the Statehouse culture has not been one of corruption, but there hasn’t been enough attention paid to the potential appearance of conflicts of interest. He says the ethics reform bill’s goal is to increase transparency in an effort to reaffirm the public’s trust.
Republican legislative leaders say the potential price tag of one aspect of Governor Mike Pence’s tax simplification proposal could be too costly to support.
Among the many provisions of Pence’s bill is a change to a sales tax exemption for Hoosier businesses.
Initial estimates by the governor’s administration put the cost around $35 million. But LSA, the legislature’s bipartisan research agency, calculates a revenue loss of anywhere between $130 million and $240 million per year.
House Speaker Brian Bosma announced Tuesday he is reassigning the proposed same sex marriage ban amendment to a new committee. The move is designed to ensure the amendment reaches the House floor.
The proposed same sex marriage ban amendment known as HJR-3 was initially assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. But after a more than three hour long hearing last Monday, committee chairman Greg Steuerwald didn’t call for a vote.
Speaker Brian Bosma says Steuerwald told him he doubts the amendment would have passed the committee and advanced to the House floor.