[r63] Halfway through the 2014 session

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, February 7, 2014

This week marks week five of ten of the 2014 legislative session. So far, we have passed 146 bills out of the House. 

On Monday, that number increased dramatically because it was our third reading deadline. After the third reading deadline, bills that have been approved on final passage switch houses; House bills go to the Senate for further debate and vice versa. Bills that haven’t been approved die. 

This week, I would like to share with you two of the bills that passed the House on Monday with bipartisan support. One of those bills is House Bill (HB) 1222. This legislation provides an income tax credit for an individual who adopts a child. If enacted, it would allow qualifying Hoosiers to be able to get a state tax credit equal to 10 percent of the qualifying federal adoption credit amount claimed on their federal income tax return starting in 2015.  

The bill also establishes an interim committee on adoption which will study how other states provide services under public adoption programs, study legal and regulatory costs associated with foster care and private adoption, and make recommendations concerning improving adoption programs.

This is an agenda item for the governor and passed unanimously out of the House. As of 2012, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that at least 13 other states offered adoption tax credits. Another 10 offered some form of a deduction. There are many children in need of a good home, and this legislation will hopefully simplify the process and lower the costs of adoption in Indiana. 

The second bill deals with a topic we have debated for quite some time in the Indiana Legislature: motor driven cycles (MCDs), or, as they are better known, mopeds. By establishing license and registration requirements, HB 1343 not only holds MCD operators accountable but also keeps other motorists safe.

This bill clearly defines and differentiates between Class A and Class B MCDs. Class A refers to those that have a cylinder capacity of 50 cubic centimeters (cc) or greater, and Class B are those with a capacity of less than 50cc. In both cases, owners must register the cycle with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and display a license plate, however in order to operate a Class A cycle, you must also hold a valid driver’s license and have insurance. 

I believe this bill strikes a great balance, because not only will this increase safety and give law enforcement more tools to accurately access penalties, but it will also allow those who have had their driving privileges temporarily suspended to use a Class B MDC. This will ensure that people are still able to get to work, support their families and turn their situation around.   
On Tuesday, the day after the third reading deadline, we returned to the Statehouse for a very brief session where we handed down a bill list containing the first 40 bills to come over from the Senate. 

Our next day of session is not until Monday, February 10. While I am eager to dive into debate on a whole new round of bills, I also welcome this short break as it affords me more time back home in our district. I look forward to the added time with my family and the opportunity to recharge before heading back to Indianapolis for the final stretch.