The Indiana General Assembly adjourned at midnight on March 14, 2018 in unprecedented chaos that left 5 substantial bills dead. Governor Holcomb announced on March 19 that he will reconvene the General Assembly in May to complete work on the school safety and tax bills, and to create a loan for Muncie schools.
ICADV had no priority legislation this year, but supported and opposed a number of bills. Among those actively supported were: HEA 1191, removing a requirement that a licensed health practitioner report that an adult patient is a suspected victim of human trafficking to a local law enforcement agency; HEA 1270, expanding human trafficking laws and victim protections; HEA 1421, promoting positive school discipline; and SEA 431, facilitating reporting of animal abuse and neglect by investigators of adult and child abuse.
ICADV also joined in broad-based opposition to HB 1319, which would have created an additional installment loan product for payday lenders, authorizing loans up to $1,500, 12 months, and 222% APR. This legislation died in the Senate. Additionally, ICADV raised concerns with bill authors about several bills affecting protective orders: SB 127 and SB 291, after which authors did not move the bills for hearing.
Also of interest to ICADV members was the enactment of SEA 419, allowing those with a DACA designation to again obtain Indiana licenses; SEA 142, creating a maternal mortality review committee under the State Department of Health; and HEA 1317, containing language finally dissolving Indiana’s total ban on award of SNAP benefits to drug felons.
Although no new gun legislation passed during the regular session, it is likely that there will be a push by gun advocates to include language in a school safety bill during special session. The school safety bill, HB 1230, was one of the casualties of time running on on session’s last day. It had appeared that two gun bills were going to pass: HB 1424, dispensing with fees for lifetime licenses and lengthening 4-year licenses, and SB 33, allowing possession of a firearm in a house of worship on school property, unless prohibited by the house of worship. After the school shooting in Parkland, FL, the latter bill was not moved through second-reading in the House, and HB 1424 stalled in Senate Appropriations. At the end of session, an active attempt was launched to strip out HB 1214 and include the language of both bills, but consensus could not be achieved.
Unfortunately, attempts to pass legislation to enhance sentences for bias motivated crimes again failed.