Legislation aimed at helping Indiana gaming facilities compete with other states and bolster struggling attendance cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday.
Legislation unanimously approved by the Senate Public Policy committee adds mobile gaming devices to off-track betting sites and eliminates taxes on free-play coupons. It also allows live-dealer games in racetrack casinos, something the bill’s author, Crawfordsville Republican Senator Phil Boots, says will boost job creation.
Lawmakers are considering legislation that would place stricter limits on how much ephedrine and pseudoephedrine is bought and sold in the state. Those drugs are two of the key ingredients used in methamphetamine production.
Legislation extensively overhauling Indiana’s criminal code passed its first legislative hurdle without interference, although its sponsors aren’t sure it will continue that way.
Lawmakers and members of the criminal justice system have spent three years working on a bill to comprehensively revise the state’s criminal code. Among other things, it would change sentence lengths and move some crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and vice versa.
Governor Mike Pence says he’s made no decision yet who will run the Family and Social Services Administration or the Department of Child Services.
Pence Wednesday held the first meeting with members of his Cabinet. In attendance were FSSA chief Michael Gargano and DCS director John Ryan, both of whom were appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels. But Pence said he has not decided whether the two men will stay on in his administration.
A state senator is proposing new legislation that would tighten the state’s ban on synthetic drugs. Many synthetic substances were banned last year, but law enforcement officials have had a hard time enforcing the measure.
Current law defines synthetic drugs based on a substance’s chemical makeup. State Sen. Jim Merritt’s bill would significantly expand that definition to include: 1) a substance a reasonable person would believe is a synthetic drug, or 2) a substance that is intended to cause or simulate intoxication.
Governor Mike Pence went straight to work after being sworn in Monday, signing 15 executive orders, including a measure stripping some authority away from the incoming state superintendent of public instruction.
One of Pence’s first acts in office was to rescind an executive order signed by former Governor Mitch Daniels. The new order shifts oversight of the Education Employment Relations Board from the state superintendent to the governor, where it had historically been before Daniels changed it. The board settles teacher contract disputes.
Ball State President Jo Ann Gora says the state’s funding formula for higher education unfairly favors some schools over others.
Gora says the state’s performance funding system is a one-size-fits-all structure that favors large and growing campuses. She says schools like Ball State – which Gora believes has focused on quality, rather than quantity – are penalized.
The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus says it will focus on improving child safety and fostering economic development in the current session. Its members say the impact of their initiatives goes beyond the state’s minority communities.