[r63] Session Nearing the End

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Monday, February 24, 2014

With only three weeks of session remaining, the deadline for the legislature’s work is quickly approaching. The House has passed 146 of our own bills, and we are now hearing Senate bills.  Of those Senate bills, there are a few I wanted to highlight. 

Senate Bill 339 would allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at the Indiana State Fair. Indiana is an outlier when it comes to this, being one of only two states that do not allow alcohol to be served at state fairs. Additionally, alcoholic beverages are allowed to be sold on the fairgrounds 50 weeks out of the year; just not for the two weeks that the state fair is taking place.

Some people have had reservations about the presence of alcohol at a venue that is family-oriented and where many families bring their children. As a father, I understand why people are concerned about that. I too, want my kids to be in environments where they are safe and encouraged to be responsible. This bill, however, does not compromise the state fair environment, as the Indiana State Fair Commission would have total control over the specifics of alcohol sales. 

In the House committee hearing, the commission testified that they envision a place set aside for alcohol consumption where you must be 21 years old to enter, and no alcohol could be brought in or taken out. This allows for the sale of alcohol on the fairgrounds without compromising safety. 

Another bill that is working its way through the committee process addresses veterans.  SB 180 requires the State Department of Health to study and report findings concerning the implementation of a program for the treatment of veterans who have traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. 

While we honor veterans often, giving them medals, mentioning them in speeches, and even presenting them with resolutions on the House floor, we must also address the issues that they are facing.  This goes a step further, ensuring their safety, the same way they protected us. It shows them, through our actions, that we value their service to our country.

Veterans give a great deal when they decide to serve our country. Many of us have no idea what it is like to go to war. We cannot imagine the weight that is placed on the shoulders of a soldier that is fighting for the ideals of our country. We cannot imagine the things that they have seen on the battlefield and the friends that they left behind. I think that we owe it to them ensure their safety and this bill is a step in that direction. 

I am optimistic about the remaining three weeks we have in session and am confident that we are making Indiana a better place to live, work and raise a family.