(INDIANAPOLIS) – The House and Senate are approaching their first set of deadlines of the session, which means some bills have reached the end of the line.
Several bills would have either made school board a partisan office, or listed candidates’ party affiliation with their name. One of those bills got a committee hearing, but House Speaker Todd Huston says it didn’t have the votes to reach the floor.
A bill allowing prosecutors to file charges over computer-generated child pornography, even if no real-life child is depicted, won unanimous approval in committee, but missed a deadline for a final vote in the House, after a stalemate over amendments authored by maverick Republican John Jacob (R-Indianapolis), requiring massive fines on big tech companies which “in any way facilitate the viewing” of child porn. Huston declined comment on whether the amendments caused the bill to be pulled, saying only there’s “important language” that needs a closer look. He says he’s still hoping to work with the Senate to revive the bill.
About 80 bills must pass by the time the Senate adjourns Tuesday to stay alive for the second half of the session. The calendar will be trimmed further over the next three weeks as the Senate considers House bills and vice versa.
Several House-passed bills face uncertain futures in the Senate. Senate leaders have repeatedly said they have misgivings about a House bill slashing the state income tax and a business equipment tax, saying those ideas are better considered in the context of the full state budget next year. And the Senate pulled the plug on a proposal restricting how schools can and can’t teach about racism, only to see the House pass a similar bill. Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) says the issues of curriculum transparency and parental involvement are important, and says the Senate will take a fresh look.
“We didn’t find a way forward, and I don’t know that we will on this one either,” Bray said. “(But) we’ve got some people that are interested in trying to look at it. They’re going to do that.”
A Senate bill abolishing gun permits died in committee without a vote, a week after the House passed its own version. Bray cautions against assuming that bill is dead in the Senate. He says the bill’s “a completely different animal” from one which passed the House last year. Bray says that bill would have required police to compile a database of people barred from carrying guns due to criminal records, without a way to gain access to that information. Critics of this year’s House bill complain it doesn’t create a database at all.
The Senate has until February 24 to send House bills to the floor.
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