Two of Duneland’s
state legislators recently spoke to the Chesterton Tribune about
their goals for Indiana’s 2018 legislative session.
Sen. Karen Tallian,
D-Ogden Dunes, authored and filed 10 bills for the 2018 session. One was a
bill to raise Indiana’s minimum wage--a bill she files every year. Tallian
also filed bills which would extend voting hours to 7 p.m. and allow small
municipalities to mail-in votes rather than setting up polling places.
Tallian said the bill would have applied to towns as large as Chesterton,
and to smaller communities in Duneland like Beverly Shores, Ogden Dunes, and
Dune Acres. That bill didn’t get a hearing.
One of Tallian’s
bills that did get a hearing, SB 178, would require all sand dredged out of
Lake Michigan to be returned to beaches to combat erosion, though it makes
an exception if the sand poses an environmental concern. SB 178 was heard by
the Senate Committee on Natural Resources last week--shortly after an
observation deck collapsed at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Portage
Lakefront and Riverwalk site--and will be heard by the full Senate soon.
Tallian described the erosion on Lake Michigan’s shoreline as a state of
have been waiting to see how the General Assembly handles the medical use of
cannabidiol, known as CBD oil. Tallian has been hoping for better
definitions of CBD oil, which is derived from marijuana. “I’ve brought it up
the last two years,” she said. Rep. William Friend, R-Macy, authored such a
bill defining CBD and legalizing it: HB 1214. Tallian will get to review and
vote on it soon, as it passed the House unanimously and advanced to the
Rep. Scott Pelath,
Rep. Scott Pelath,
D-Michigan City is serving his final term. The last bill he submitted, HB
1169, is his final attempt as a legislator to advocate for public schools’
providing free textbooks. An update of a bill which he first filed in 1998,
HB 1169 would require all curricular materials to be provided at no cost to
students and establishes a fund for the state to reimburse schools for the
Pelath said he
views the cost of materials as a tax on education: “We give tax breaks to
all kinds of people, including those who did not want them and did not ask
for them. The practice of taxing parents for the words filling their
children's minds must end.”
authored HB 1373, a bill to extend voting hours to 8 p.m. and allow voters
who meet certain requirements to register to vote at the polls. It would
also require Indiana to implement a voting-by-mail system by 2022. “Indiana
is a state with chronically low voter participation, and that must change
for the good of our democracy. Voting hours should be longer, and barriers
to voting must be eliminated,” he said.
In addition, Pelath
wants big money out of politics and said that practices which allow
politicians to cherry-pick their voting base, such as some redistricting
efforts, must come to an end, a sentiment echoed by Sen. Tallian.
Pelath told the
Tribune that he’s enjoyed his service to the state and the 9th District.
“As I return to private life, I want to express my deep gratitude for the
privilege of serving Northwest Indiana the past twenty years.”
Both Rep. Pelath
and Sen. Tallian have kept lakeshore communities in mind this session. In
addition to Tallian’s dredged sand bill, Pelath authored HB 1372, which
would make the purposeful damage and non-emergency use of marine safety
equipment a Level 6 felony.
Soliday and Moseley
Rep. Edmond Soliday,
R-Valparaiso, could not be reached for comment.
authored six transportation bills this session.
Moseley, D-Portage, did not return a request for comment.
authored two bills.