OPEN ITEM – The Senate Now Rises
Much of the attention this legislative session has been focused on the Indiana House of Representatives up until their vote this week on HJR 3, the constitutional amendment that would define the nature of marriage in Indiana. With House passage of an amended amendment, much of that attention will now be focused on the Senate. However, there is another piece of legislation being considered in the Senate that will generate some press, particularly in the Indianapolis media market.
The Indianapolis Mass Transit Bill, SB 176, is scheduled to come up for a vote this week. Last session Americans for Prosperity were universally recognized for their effectiveness of their efforts pushing for a cut in personal income taxes. This session AFP Indiana seems to have focused much of their effort on stopping the Indianapolis Mass Transit legislation. It will be interesting to see if they build on past success.
A quick recap on what’s happening with HJR 3… first, the legislation was moved to the Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee rather than the Judiciary Committee because Senate President Pro-Tempore David Long (R-Fort Wayne) would like to see HJR 3 reach the Senate floor in the same format in which it passed the House so the Senate can debate the same language approved by the House of Representatives. Note this doesn’t mean he opposes efforts to add the second sentence back to HJR 3 that was removed by the House of Representatives. Sen. Long has not expressed a position either way on this issue.
Another point about HJR 3 is that those efforts to add back the second sentence may in fact have traction in the Indiana Senate. Should the Senate pass HJR 3 it would set up a conference committee. What comes out of that committee at this point is anyone’s guess.
In other news, Michigan authorities have issued a national alert regarding a convict who escaped from prison last night. Michael Elliot reportedly carjacked an Elkhart woman according to Anna Bockelman of Fox 28 in Elkhart. If you see someone matching Elliot’s description you’re asked to call 911 immediately.
You may remember an early post from new contributor Nate Hummel detailing the potential challenges associated with criminal code reforms scheduled to go into effect on July 1. Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette put together a lengthy treatment on the impact of criminal code reforms in today’s paper.