Here are how major bills have fared at the halfway point of the 2014 Indiana General Assembly, which is scheduled to end no later than March 14.
Pre-K: House Bill 1004, which passed the House, would provide vouchers for some low-income children to attend pre-K programs, based on income requirements, although funding wouldn’t be appropriated until next year. The bill moves to the Senate.
Common Core: Senate Bill 91, which passed the Senate, requires the State Board of Education to adopt Indiana-based college and career readiness educational standards by July 1. It also prevents the state from following Common Core standards adopted in 2010. The bill now goes to the House.
Day cares: Under House Bill 1036, unlicensed day cares, including ministries and home day cares, would have to comply with key safety regulations if they accept taxpayer money. The measure passed the House and heads to the Senate.
Business personal property tax: House Bill 1001 would give counties the option to eliminate the tax on any new business equipment. Senate Bill 1 would eliminate the tax for businesses with less than $25,000 worth of equipment. The Senate bill would also cut the corporate income tax rate from 6.5 percent to 4.9 percent by 2019. Both chambers have sent their bills to the opposite chamber for further consideration.
Income tax exemptions: House Bill 1211, approved by the House, would require the income tax exemptions the state offers for individuals, dependents, the blind, and the elderly be adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index. It also would increase the income tax exemption for children from $1,500 to $2,000 per child. Now heads to the Senate.
Adoption credit: House Bill 1222, passed unanimously out of the House, says those eligible to claim an adoption credit on federal tax returns also are entitled to a state credit against their adjusted gross income tax up to 10 percent of federal credit amount. Now heads to the Senate.
Highway funding: House Bill 1002 would immediately release $400 million in Major Moves road funding that the state began setting aside last year for future highway expansion. It sets aside $25 million of that money for local infrastructure grants. The House passed the bill and it’s now pending in the Senate.
Mass transit: Senate Bill 176 would would give Marion County and five nearby counties the ability to raise income and business taxes — with voter approval — to help fund an expansion of mass transit in Central Indiana. A Senate committee amended it to prohibit light rail. The full Senate approved it and sent it to the House.
Same-sex marriage: The House passed an amended version of House Joint Resolution 3, after deleting the second sentence banning civil unions. The Senate Rules Committee will hear the resolution on Monday.
Abortion: Under Senate Bill 292, passed by the Senate, abortion clinics have to keep a copy of admitting privileges of doctors performing abortions and provide copy to State Department of Health — a provision Planned Parenthood finds objectionable because it would publicly name local “back-up” doctors who handle medical complications. Senate Bill 228 calling for a study into whether women are being coerced into having abortions was pulled by the sponsor before being heard in the full Senate.
Drug testing of welfare recipients: Indiana welfare recipients would be required to undergo drug testing in order to receive benefits under House Bill 1351, which passed the House and now goes to the Senate. The bill also would prevent Hoosiers who get food stamps from using them to buy unhealthy foods, if a federal waiver is granted for that exception.
Ag gag: Senate Bill 101 was aimed at banning undercover videotaping of farm activities and would have made it a crime for anyone to enter a farmer’s property and do anything that resulted in monetary loss. The bill was changed in committee to make it a crime “only if a trespasser causes property damage to the farm.” The amended version passed the Senate and is pending in the House.
Environment regulations: House Bill 1143 would prevent Indiana from adopting environmental rules more stringent than federal standards. It passed the House and is now pending in the Senate.
Other bills of note
Smoking rights: The so-called “smokers’ bill of rights” law would have been eliminated under House Bill 1029, backed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The bill, which wasn’t heard in committee, would have allowed employers to require job-seekers to stop using tobacco products at all times as a condition of employment.
Sunday alcohol sales: House Bill 1022 would have allowed Sunday alcohol sales at grocery, convenience and liquor stores. The bill failed to advance after the House Public Policy Committee declined to give it a hearing.
Electronic surveillance: House Bill 1099, approved by the House, would prohibit warrantless searches on electronic communications, user data and geo-location information, except when emergency circumstances exist, and provides Class A misdemeanor penalty. Senate Bill 64 and House Bill 1384, identical bills, would require search warrant or other legally authorized reason for police to download cell phone information without owner’s permission. All three bills passed their chamber of origin and are headed to the other chamber for consideration.