[R74] Ellspermann Edition: Halftime and Moving on to Senate Bills (2/3/2012)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Start Date: 2/3/2012
End Date: 2/3/2012

The Indiana House passed 108 bills in the first half including one enacted House Bill (HB) 1001, Right to Work, and one enacted Senate Bill (SB) 4, Human Trafficking, prior to the Super Bowl.  The greatest attention, by far, was paid to passage of Right to Work as Indiana became the 23rd state to provide this workers’ right to choose whether to pay union-related fees.  Job commitments have already been made in Northeast Indiana and location inquiries are increasing, including in SW Indiana, based on this important job creation legislation.  Indiana is now the “shining buckle” of the Rust Belt states.

However, many other important pieces of legislation were passed this session including HB 1199, Phasing Out of the Inheritance Tax, which allows numerous farmers, small business owners and families who have worked hard to create modest wealth to pass it along to their loved ones and to keep these family businesses alive.  The Smoking Ban, HB 1149, passed the House again this time with various casino-related and private club exemptions, but including an 18 month phase out of bars, rather than a full exemption. 

HB 1376 provides much needed K-12 school funding by providing $80 million to entirely fund full-day kindergarten, as well as providing a modest taxpayer refund, additional funds for state fair stage collapse victims, and teacher pension funding.   HB 1269, the Health Care Compact, would allow Indiana, should the U.S. Congress approve, to accept the responsibility of health care for our citizens rather than the expensive overhaul Congress passed two years ago.  Four other states have already passed a similar compact.  There are nearly 100 compacts in place already in the United States.
 
My bills passed out of the House as well this week.   HB 1173, Various IOSHA Matters, ensures employee anonymity when turning in potential OSHA violations and in inspection reports, as well as protecting IOSHA employees from being subject to subpoena in third party litigation.  HB 1241, renamed Economic Development Incentives, fixes the Venture Capital Investment Tax Credit and sets up a pilot program for rural entrepreneurship support.  This is scaled down from the full rural entrepreneurship program as presented.  Finally, HB 1312, Poultry Sales at Farmers Markets, allows our rural farmers to sell their locally grown frozen chickens at farmers markets without requiring inspection as allowable under federal law.  In addition, a study committee is established in this bill to identify ways to increase the linkage between locally grown foods and their farmers with Hoosier consumers as this is a tremendous economic development opportunity for agri-business and healthy food consumption.

My husband and I, like many of you, will enjoy the Super Bowl weekend shining a spotlight on our state’s capitol.  Indianapolis is vibrant and exuding Hoosier Hospitality at all corners as Indiana hosts one of the great sporting events of all time.  Have a wonderful week ahead!

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Ellspermann Edition, Halftime and Moving on to Senate Bills, 2-3-12.doc