State lawmakers hope the third time’s the charm as they seek to eliminate the sale and use of synthetic drugs, often referred to as bath salts.
This year marks the third consecutive session with legislation outlawing synthetic drugs. But Indianapolis Republican Jim Merritt – who has shepherded the effort in the Senate all three years – says state lawmakers and law enforcement know much more now and believe they’ve hit on a lasting solution.
The House Republican budget does not include Governor Mike Pence’s proposed 10% income tax cut. But House Democratic leaders are promising the cut will get an up or down vote on the House floor.
The House GOP budget, which will be publicly presented to the Ways and Means committee Monday, includes significant increases in education and roads funding. But it leaves out Governor Pence’s tax cut, and does not assume there will be any taxpayer refund at the end of the budget cycle.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long said Indiana needs to take the lead in assembling a constitutional convention of the states in an effort to rein in the federal government’s power. Long’s effort aims to produce an amendment to the Untied States Constitution.
To amend the Constitution in a state-initiated way, two-thirds of state legislatures must agree to convene a constitutional convention, at which the amendment is drafted. Three-fourths of the states must then approve the amendment for it to be ratified.
As lawmakers work to create the Indiana Career Council, meant to coordinate the state’s workforce development efforts, they’re placing a special emphasis on addressing unemployment among recent veterans.
The unemployment rate for Indiana’s post-9-11 veterans is 20%, more than double that of the average Hoosier. Indiana National Guard Employment Coordination Program manager Catalina Carrasco said part of the reason so many young veterans are unemployed is a disconnect between veterans and employers.
Indiana state senators are used to hearing from special guests during the legislative session, but Thursday lawmakers had an out of this world experience as NASA Commander and Hoosier native Kevin Ford addressed the Senate from aboard the International Space Station.