[r63] Messmer Report: Bills for charities and Hoosier businesses advance in General Assembly

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, February 17, 2012

The pace has been pretty hectic this week in the Indiana House of Representatives, but also a productive one.  House committees met all week to take testimony and vote on Senate bills, and several pieces of legislation were sent to the governor to be signed into law.  The General Assembly hopes to complete the business for this year’s Legislative Session three days early, and after this week we’re well on our way to reaching that goal.

Senate Bill (SB) 315, which I’m sponsoring in the House, would allow national charities to acquire a statewide gaming license for their local Indiana affiliates.  This summer I worked with the Gaming Commission and representatives of several national charitable organizations to help make compliance with highly technical gaming laws easier for those groups.  The national organizations are better equipped to navigate through complex gaming laws, allowing local charities to devote more funds to their causes and reducing fees for gaming violations.  SB 315 unanimously passed the House Public Policy Committee and will soon be heard by the full House for final passage.

One bill I authored passed both the House and Senate this week and should soon go to the governor to be signed into law. The bill would modernize testing procedures for engineers and land surveyors that, currently, must be handwritten exams.  House Bill (HB) 1148 would update our laws to get our state into compliance with changes to computer-based testing that the national organization that administers those tests is changing to in 2014. 

A second bill I authored, HB 1154, would repeal the local business preference to all purchases and public works contracts by cities and counties.  Our goal is to strive for a more efficient, stream-lined government, but this mandatory price preference would have resulted in higher costs to taxpayers and jeopardize any federal matching grants for those communities.  Local governments would still have the option to grant a local preference for purchases of supplies.  HB 1154 will likely receive a final vote in the Senate next week.

In just a few weeks, the 2012 Legislative Session will be wrapping up.  My colleagues and I in the General Assembly are working hard to pass much needed legislation to make Indiana a better place to work and live.  I encourage you to share your thoughts on any issue with me by phone at 1-800-382-9841 or by email at h63@in.gov.  Thank you for your continued support and have a happy and safe weekend.