Although this is a short Legislative Session, we in the General Assembly are busy working on many important issues that will help strengthen Indiana. Some proposals now under consideration include tougher human trafficking laws, a statewide smoking ban, and a fairer sales tax.
While everyone is proud to host the Super Bowl in Indiana, such large crowds also attract human sex traffickers. According to the United Nations, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal activities in the world. Senate Bill (SB) 4 clarifies the definition of sex trafficking and increases the length of prison sentences to ensure these criminals could be prosecuted. SB 4 has passed the Senate and is now scheduled for action in the House.
Another bill getting extra attention due to the Super Bowl is the statewide smoking ban. House Bill (HB) 1149 introduces a statewide smoking ban in public areas and indoor places of employment. HB 1149 passed out of the House Public Health Committee earlier this week, and will now be considered by the full House. I’ve supported the smoking bans that have passed out of the House in previous sessions, and I look forward to discussing this issue on the floor.
On January 9, the online retailer Amazon.com agreed to begin collecting sales taxes on purchases starting in 2014. HB 1119 would apply this sales tax to all online retailers, leveling the playing field for retailers with physical stores. Fair competition among retailers would protect the jobs of tens of thousands of retail employees across Indiana. The House Ways and Means Committee will be hearing HB 1119.
These three bills represent only a fraction of the work we’re doing at the Statehouse, but I believe they demonstrate our commitment to a safer, healthier, more prosperous Indiana. I’m eager to hear your thoughts on this legislation or any other issues facing Indiana. If you would like to contact me, I can be reached by phone at 1-800-382-9841 or by email at email@example.com. I wish you and your family a happy and safe weekend in this winter weather.