The Indiana General Assembly recently reached the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session, meaning all of the bills passed by the Senate are now being considered by the House of Representatives and vice versa.
In all, the Senate passed 201 bills during the first half of session. Contrary to the partisan gridlock that we so often see in Washington, D.C., most of the work we do in the Indiana General Assembly has bipartisan support.
In fact, of the 201 bills that passed the Senate in the first half of session, 97 percent passed with bipartisan support and 50 percent passed unanimously.
Some of the major bills that the Senate has passed include:
Senate Joint Resolution 7, which would allow Hoosiers to vote on amending the Indiana Constitution to require each General Assembly to pass a balanced budget unless two-thirds of both chambers vote to use emergency spending powers;
Senate Bill 198, which would modernize funding for high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses in high-wage, high-demand job fields, and send state CTE grants directly to the institutions that provide CTE instruction – whether they be schools, CTE cooperatives or apprenticeship programs;
Senate Bill 226, which would help fight the opioid-abuse epidemic by limiting opioid prescription amounts for individuals who are being prescribed opioids for the first time;
Senate Bill 276, which would expand Indiana’s On My Way Pre-K program to eligible students and preschools in any county, provide $16 million per year in funding, and promote parental responsibility by dedicating $1 million per year in pre-K funding to home-based early education services;
Senate Bill 34, which would protect children in school by requiring all school employees who have ongoing interactions with children to undergo a background check every five years;
Senate Bill 517, which would support Hoosier veterans by allocating $500,000 per year of state lottery revenue to the Veterans’ Affairs Trust Fund to pay for veteran services, including housing assistance, job training and health programs;
Senate Bill 1, which would fix the unintended consequences of Indiana’s laws on e-liquid manufacturing by eliminating the state rules that created unfair regulations in the market and bringing us into compliance with new federal rules; and
Senate Bill 423, which would uphold the rule of law on college campuses by prohibiting any Indiana college or university that receives state or federal funds from adopting a “sanctuary campus” policy that would allow them to undermine the laws on illegal immigration.
The second half of session will be just as busy, with lawmakers working on topics such as the next two-year state budget, long-term road funding, reforming school testing, and a workforce-ready grant program.
As always, I welcome your thoughts on these bills or any other issues being considered by the Indiana General Assembly this year. My office can be reached by phone at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.
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