Five legislators provided updates during the Kosciusko County Farm Bureau meeting Saturday morning.
The legislators who attended included State Sen. Ryan Mishler, State Rep. Curt Nisly, Kosciusko County Councilman Jim Moyer, State Sen. Randy Head and State Rep. Dave Wolkins.
Mishler said he has been working on Senate Bill 566. The bill, if approved, will provide higher pay to Indiana’s most effective and qualified teachers and give schools more freedom from state mandates.
Nisly said the House started with 667 bills and passed 150 of them and the deadline to pass bills is Wednesday.
Nisly serves on road and transportation, government reduction and interstate and international cooperation committees.
“My favorite committee is government reduction. We have a summer study committee set to figure out how we can have more government reduction,” Nisly said.
He said a bill has been passed that will continue to allow Amish not to have photos on their identification cards and a bill that allows cameras on school buses and in work zones where there is equipment close by is under review.
Nisly said the Sunday alcohol sales bill has been interesting to watch.
“At first the big box stores really liked the idea of Sunday sales, and the packaged liquor stores did not like it,” Nisly said.
In committee ,an amendment was added so the big box retailers would be required to sell the liquor behind counters and cashiers would need to be licenced to sell the alcohol.
“Now the packaged stores are in favor of the bill, and the big box stores are not,” Nisly said.
Moyer spoke about the county’s wheel tax.
He said a wheel tax was needed to be adopted to maintain roads.
“Last year the county repaved 44 miles of roads and at that rate it would take 27 years for all or the roads to be resurfaced and maintained,” Moyer said. “We didn’t think that would be viable so we needed to come up with funding and that’s why I supported the wheel tax.”
The goal for the county is to resurface approximately 10 percent of roads per year.
Head said he is working on studying annexation. He said he was part of a committee to review how annexation worked.
“If a municipality wants to annex, they draw the map how they want to annex and must pass an ordinance and give notice to the people in the proposed annexation territory through a certified letter,” Head said.
He said if people don’t want to be a part of the annexation they must have signatures and then it goes to court.
Wolkins provided an update and said Indiana has $1.25 million in medical malpractice caps and a bill will raise the cap to $1.65 million.
He said an E-liquids bill is being reviewed that will regulate vape shops.
“Those in the business say they will not be able to stay in business with these regulations and the bill is overreaching,” Wolkins said.
He said a 66-page gaming bill was passed that supports allowing riverboats to be on land.
(Story By The Times Union)