Indiana Legislative Update Two Weeks Left

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With the end in sight, Indiana lawmakers raced this week to get their bills to the finish line and on their way to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk. The deadline for the House bills to pass Second Reading was Thursday. That morning, House members – and Statehouse watchers – were greeted by a whopping 109 amendments on just 15 bills. As they trudged through their to-do list tempers flared and things grew fiery at times. In the afternoon, one lawmaker responded to an amendment by explaining that though he had “huge respect for (the amendment author’s) intellect, the story just told is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears without Goldilocks.” And during evening debate on an amendment to the controversial gaming bill SB 552 demanding more transparency and calling out the Governor for a private meeting on a plane with Gary casino owner Rod Ratcliffe, things got heated before a brief recess was called after a “point of order” was called for breaking the rule of impugning another member on the floor. Ultimately, the amendment, which requires 48 hour public notice on any future meetings between the Governor’s office and any individuals with gaming interests, received bipartisan support, to pass with 61 yeas, 28 nays. 

The House and Senate worked through more concurrences this week, and conference committees have begun. To provide some background on this process, bills that pass the second chamber without amendments go to the Governor for him to either sign, veto, or allow to become law without signature. If a bill is amended, the chamber of origin may then either concur or dissent to the amendment. If the first chamber concurs, the bill goes to the Governor for his action. If the first chamber dissents, the bill will then go to conference committee for legislators from both the House and Senate (called conferees) to work out the differences. If an agreement is reached by the conference committee, the conferees will sign a conference committee report that will then have to be approved by both the House and Senate to pass and go to the Governor.

Monday is the last day for Senate bills to pass the House and Tuesday is the deadline for House bills to pass the Senate. After that, all the focus will be on the negotiations that occur during conference committee time to reach the final version on remaining bills before the Legislature adjourns no later than midnight on Monday, April 29th.  

Finally a few highlights from your bill report:

Important Dates:

  • Monday, April 15th – Deadline for Senate Bills to pass the House
  • Tuesday, April 16th – Deadline for House Bills to pass the Senate
  • Friday, April 26th – Date set at the beginning of Session as the goal for the last day 
  • Monday, April 29th – 2019 Session must adjourn