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Indiana lawmakers have 400 bills at session's halfway mark

Indiana lawmakers are entering the second half of the legislative session with more than 400 bills still alive, covering issues including teacher pay, gambling and hate crimes.

Posted: Mar 4, 2019 4:01 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers are entering the second half of the legislative session with more than 400 bills still alive, covering issues including teacher pay, gambling and hate crimes.

The Indiana House was on Monday considering Senate-approved legislation, while the state Senate was evaluating proposed laws endorsed by the House. Measures that are approved by both chambers will then be considered by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

One bill would provide $611 million for education. While the bill doesn't specify how school districts must use the funds, lawmakers hope officials will use the money to fund teacher pay increases.

"Having the legislature tell the school districts exactly what to pay teachers is problematic so we are trying to come up with other creative ways to help," Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said.

Another proposal would legalize sports wagering, including on mobile devices.

"What we are doing in this bill would allow us to capture part of that market that already exists," Holcomb said. "I'm not quick to walk away from that."

Another key piece of legislation set for review is a hate crimes law. Holcomb made a public appeal regarding the bill after the state Senate removed a list of specifically protected characteristics, including sexual orientation, gender identity and race.

"The list is an important statement," said Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane. "We all have a race. We all have a color, a sexual identity."

Opponents argue that the government shouldn't regulate what people think. Others are pushing for the bill to include additional protections for political beliefs and involvement in national groups.

Bills that didn't clear either chamber could still be amended into surviving legislation.

There are two months remaining in the budget-writing session. The Republican-dominated Legislature must draft a new two-year budget to fund school districts, universities and state agencies before the session ends in late April.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

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Lake3299167
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St. Joseph117034
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Hamilton109992
Johnson1082104
Elkhart100827
Madison58258
Porter48721
Bartholomew48033
Clark45838
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Delaware35434
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Shelby31421
Floyd31338
Boone28235
Morgan26124
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery22717
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2151
Noble18520
Grant18520
Harrison18521
Dubois1822
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe16010
Henry1597
Vigo1477
Lawrence14322
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll922
Kosciusko861
Daviess8216
Steuben792
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Fayette654
Marshall641
LaGrange602
Jasper561
Washington521
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Rush452
Jay430
Jefferson411
Randolph403
Pulaski390
Clay391
Whitley392
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb291
Perry270
Huntington262
Benton250
Knox240
Crawford230
Wells230
Tipton221
Blackford201
Switzerland190
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Gibson142
Ohio130
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Union80
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