A look at some major legislation considered this year by the Indiana General
BILLS THAT PASSED:
— STATE BUDGET: New two-year, $28 billion spending plan has no tax
increases; restores some of the funding cuts made to public schools over the
past two years; shifts more money to growing suburban school districts with
some urban and rural districts facing cuts; projected to leave state with
more than $1 billion in reserves; includes method for $1,000-a-day fines
against boycotting legislators in response to five-week walkout by House
— SCHOOL VOUCHERS: Legislators approved a plan backed by Gov. Mitch
Daniels that would create the nation’s broadest voucher system, allowing
parents to use taxpayer money to send their children to private schools.
Families of four making up to about $60,000 a year could receive some type
— CHARTER SCHOOLS: Bill aims to expand charter schools, which are public
schools free of many state regulations, by allowing a new state board and
some private colleges to create charter schools. It also lets charter
schools cheaply buy unused buildings owned by traditional school districts.
— TEACHER MERIT PAY: Bill requires teachers to be evaluated annually.
Those in the bottom two of four categories would not be eligible for
automatic pay raises.
— TEACHER CONTRACT LIMITS: Daniels has signed into law a bill barring
contracts between school districts and teachers unions from including
anything other than wages and wage-related benefits starting July 1.
— ABORTION/PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Bill approved to ban abortions after the
20th week of pregnancy unless there is a substantial threat to the woman’s
life or health, about four weeks earlier than current law. It also would cut
off all government funding distributed by the state for Planned Parenthood.
Daniels said Friday he will sign the bill.
— UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FUND: The plan is expected to reduce the
state’s jobless payments by 25 percent starting in 2012 while reducing
business tax increases that were taking effect this year. The plan aims to
repay $2 billion the state has borrowed from the federal government to pay
— GAY MARRIAGE: House and Senate both approved a state constitutional
amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions. It must win legislative
approval again in 2013 or 2014 to face a statewide referendum in November
— REDISTRICTING: New Republican-drawn election districts for the state’s
nine congressional and 150 legislative districts won approval despite calls
from watchdog group that more time be given for public review of the maps,
which were released April 11.
— ALCOHOL ID: The requirement that everyone — regardless of age —
provide identification when buying carry-out alcohol was revised so that
store clerks wouldn’t have to card customers who appear older than 40.
— TEXTING WHILE DRIVING: All drivers will be prohibited from sending or
reading text messages, extending a current ban that applies to drivers
younger than 18.
— SPICE BAN: Synthetic marijuana known as spice or K2 will be banned
statewide under a law treating possessing or dealing it the same as the real
BILLS THAT FAILED:
— RIGHT TO WORK: Boycott by House Democrats started after a House
committee advanced a bill that would prohibit union representation fees from
being a condition of employment at most companies. The issue will be
reviewed later this year by a legislative study committee.
— CRIMINAL SENTENCING CHANGES: A plan pushed by Daniels aimed at
reducing the state’s prison crowding by easing penalties for low-level
offenders died after running into stiff opposition from county prosecutors.
— LOCAL GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION: Proposals from Daniels to revamp
county government and eliminate about 1,000 township governments failed to
— SMOKING BAN: A bill to ban smoking in workplaces and other public
sites failed after health advocates assailed it as too weak because it would
have exempted casinos, bars, fraternal clubs, smoke shops and nursing homes.