Rep. Lucas: 2016 Session Legislative Update

Posted by: Devan Strebing  | Friday, February 19, 2016

The 2016 legislative session recently passed the halfway mark. Legislators in the House of Representatives approved 116 proposals, sending them to the Indiana Senate for consideration, while legislators in the Indiana Senate approved and sent 150 bills to the House for consideration. Main topics from session include supporting education, funding roads and curbing illegal drugs.

House Republicans are working to make recommendations on replacing the current ISTEP+ test. Under House Bill 1395, ISTEP would expire July 1, 2017. Gov. Mike Pence recently signed into law House Enrolled Act 1003 ensuring last year’s more stringent standards do not unfairly penalize Hoosier teachers and schools, since the state transitioned to a new, more rigorous test. The governor also signed Senate Enrolled Act 200 into law, which holds schools harmless for their A-F accountability grade for the 2014-15 school year.

Another proposal that was sent to the Senate for consideration is HB 1001. House Republicans are committed to passing a responsible, comprehensive and sustainable plan to address our state’s road and bridge funding needs. This bill focuses on three principles: fiscal responsibility, data-driven metrics and sustainability. It would also aide local governments with additional funds and the flexibility to invest in roads and bridges. It would provide for personal income tax rate reductions through 2025. Indiana’s transportation infrastructure affects every sector of our economy and drives economic development. I am committed to supporting a safe and efficient transportation system without creating long-term debt for future generations.

Pseudoephedrine (PSE) – which is used in various cold, flu and allergy medications – is also a main ingredient in the production of meth. PSE is currently sold behind the counter at stores and when purchased, data is logged and shared on the National Precursor Log Exchange. Despite this current system, meth cooks are finding loopholes and obtaining large enough amounts of PSE to produce the highly addictive and dangerous drug.

I recently voted in support of a bill that would help stem the meth epidemic in Indiana by preventing the act of “smurfing.” This occurs when a person or group of people go from one store to another in order to obtain enough PSE to make meth, skirting individual purchase limits. If enacted into law, HB 1390 would allow pharmacists who have a relationship on record with a consumer to distribute PSE products to them as currently done. If the consumer does not have a relationship with the pharmacy, they would have the option to buy a tamper-resistant product or a small amount of the 30mg immediate release tabs that limit the extraction of PSE.

As these proposals for new laws move through the legislative process, please contact me with any questions or input at H69@iga.in.gov or call (317)234-9499.

 

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Rep. Lucas (R-Seymour) represents Jackson, Jennings, Jefferson and Bartholomew counties.