We have reached the halfway point of the session. The House has finished its work on bills originating in that chamber, and now we will consider bills the Senate has passed and sent over to us. We must finish our work no later than April 29.
While much of the attention in the first half has been focused on the budget, my House colleagues and I have passed legislation intended to keep Hoosiers safer and more secure. For example:
House Bill 1020 allows courts to order ignition interlock devices installed in first- and second-time DUI offenders. This bill should reduce the number of drunken drivers endangering innocent Hoosiers and themselves.
House Bill 1021 increases the penalties for motorists who ignore the extended "Stop" arm on a school bus and then hit and injure a child who is getting on or off the bus. This bill should keep Hoosier school children safer.
House Bill 1121 creates an identity theft unit in the attorney general's office to investigate consumer complaints related to identity theft and help identity theft victims.
We also have passed legislation to help those men and women who serve their country:
House Bill 1107 enables the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, which should make it easier for the children of military families to have their educational and other records transferred. It also provides that school work will be recognized so that graduations are not unnecessarily delayed by moves.
House Bill 1135 enables the Military family Relief Fund to provide short-term financial assistance to military families suffering hardships because of a family member's military service.
House Bill 1178 increases the availability of the military pension income tax deduction by removing the minimum age of 60. It also phases in an increase in the deduction from $5,000 to $7,000.
And we have passed bills improving consumer protection:
House Bill 1173 says the limits the finance charges on small loans to a percentage of the principal. This protects borrowers from being charged unreasonable fees for small loans.
House Bill 1180 protects people who buy tickets to sporting or entertainment events over the Internet by creating penalties for those who interfere with the operations of Internet ticket-sellers.