Two of Duneland’s
four legislators spoke with the Chesterton Tribune about their
priorities in 2020 and how the bills they have filed in the Indiana General
Assembly’s short legislative session have fared so far.
State Senator Karen
Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) has authored 12 bills and coauthored nine. State
Representative Pat Boy (D-Michigan City) has authored five bills and
two of her bills that have advanced out of committee, which she expects will
pass a full vote of the Senate: SB 202, Worker’s Compensation, and SB 302,
Indigency. SB 202 is focused on raising worker’s compensation benefits,
which Tallian said hasn’t been done in six years, and SB 302 on bringing
consistency to the way criminal courts across Indiana determine a
defendant’s indigency status.
continues to advocate for the creation of an agency that would regulate the
sale, distribution, and manufacturing of cannabis products (SB 112) and is a
coauthor on SB 325, a bill affirming the Indiana Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling
in Gunderson v. Indiana that the Lake Michigan shoreline is public up to the
ordinary high water mark.
SB 325 is a
challenge to HB 1031, a new proposal which advocates again for private
ownership of the beach by property owners who’s deeds provide that their
property extends to the Lake.
Both SB 325 and SB
112 are scheduled for committee hearings this week.
“For every good
idea we try to propose, we also try to fight ideas that aren’t so good,”
Tallian said. She’s planning to speak against a bill in the Senate
corrections and criminal law committee tomorrow that could allow the Indiana
Attorney General to take over cases that local prosecutors decline to
As a candidate for
Attorney General, Tallian said she’s opposed to the measure and more in
favor of local control. “The local prosecutors are elected, and they know
where they can spend their energies,” she said. “To think that the state
should get involved in local minor possession cases is kind of ridiculous,”
Boy highlighted HB
1257, Notice of Environmental Contamination, which was partially inspired by
chemical exceedances from Arcelor Mittal in August 2019 that caused a fish
kill and beach closures. The bill would require that any company that
doesn’t give appropriate public notice of spills in accordance with Indiana
Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) rules be subject to penalties
of $25,000 to $50,000 per day that notice isn’t given.
Boy said the bill
was heard in the House committee on environmental affairs, but there was no
vote. “I set up some pretty high penalties. I was open to amending it, but
they didn’t want to take it anywhere,” she said.
“The spill is an
accident, and I understand accidents,” Boy said, but continued that not
telling people is “either purposeful or careless.” There are currently fines
for spills, but no fines for failure of notice, Boy said.
Boy plans to
support another bill that proposes requiring companies to make public
notification without the threat of fines, and said she may propose an
amendment to it.
Boy also proposed
HB 1058, a bill to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and
HB 1056, Parental notice of juvenile arrest. HB 1058 got a committee
hearing, but no vote. “We always complain about how bad our turnout is, so
if we could get them started earlier and interested in voting, what have we
got to lose?”, Boy said.
HB 1056 is
scheduled for a hearing in the House Family, Children, and Human Affairs
committee tomorrow morning. The bill would require that schools notify
parents of students who are arrested or detained while at school before the
student is taken off school premises. The bill makes exceptions for
emergency situations and warrant arrests.
Moseley and Soliday
Representatives Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) and Charles Moseley (D-Portage)
were not available for comment at deadline today.
According to the
Indiana General Assembly website, Soliday authored five bills and is a
coauthor on five more; Moseley also authored five bills and is a coauthor on
HB 1151, which
Moseley co-authored, provides that school resource officers are considered
public safety officers for the purposes of the public employees special
death benefit fund. It has advanced out of committee and unanimously passed
third reading in the House, and was referred to the Senate Wednesday. Also,
Moseley’s bill to allow county election boards to offer electronic campaign
finance reporting (HB 1288) advanced out of the House elections and
apportionment committee Thursday.
Two of Soliday’s
bills (HB 1279, Development areas, and 1414, Retirement of electric
generations facilities) both advanced out of committee last week. HB 1279
provides for cooperation between the Northwest Indiana Regional Development
Authority (RDA) and the Northwest Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD).
The Associated Press reported Thursday that HB 1279 is intended to block the
closure of coal-fired power plants, and it faced backlash in committee from
critics who worry it would impede the development of renewable energy.