Setting the Standard
It was a jam-packed week in the Statehouse. Next Friday is the deadline to vote on any House bills that we want to get through this session, so we have been filling our schedules to hear bills as we near the deadline. Among all of the bills heard this week, two bills I co-authored and a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution were heard on the floor and voted on.
House Bill 1405, of which I am a co-author, establishes dissolvable tobacco products as any other tobacco product under state law. This prohibits the sale of them to anyone under 18, and makes it illegal for anyone under 18 to possess a dissolvable tobacco product. For those of you who don't know, dissolvable tobacco products are relatively new items that look like breath mints but contain nicotine. You take the product, put it under your tongue, and it dissolves in your mouth.
Currently, these products are not regulated and can be purchased by anyone. Kids that think they are breath mints have been taking them to school and sharing them with friends, not realizing that they are nicotine (and therefore tobacco) products. By establishing these products as actual tobacco products, HB 1405 puts these products behind the counters at convenience stores and out of the reach of our children. Much like the ban on synthetic marijuana that recently passed the House and went over to the Senate, this is simply a bill to catch up with new products that circumvented current laws on tobacco and drugs. This bill passed in the House by a unanimous vote and has gone over to the Senate for review.
Another bill I co-authored, HB 1467, requires insurance companies and health care providers to recognize athletic trainers as accepted medical practitioners. This allows them to be reimbursed by the providers and allows companies or school districts to make agreements with their medical providers to have a licensed physical therapist or athletic trainer on staff to provide their services at a lower cost to students or employees. HB 1467 also passed unanimously in the House, so it has gone over to the Senate for review, as well.
The House also heard and voted on a proposed marriage amendment to the Indiana Constitution. The proposed amendment passed the House and went to the Senate for further consideration. I want to clarify that this is not a bill or a mandate and does not work like a typical bill. If it succeeds in the Senate, it must succeed through the next General Assembly in 2013 or 2014, and then it will be put as a voter referendum for the public to decide. If passed by the voters, it then would be added to the Indiana Constitution.
That sums it up for this week. We have a busy week ahead of us as we strive to meet the deadline on Friday, so be sure to check in next week to see what happens.
Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler)