The Indiana legislature is right around the corner, with an official start up date of January 5th. We are starting to review the first of more than 1,200 bills that are typically filed in each session.
Here are a few bills that have been made public that we have reviewed which might interest you, and give you an idea of the wide variety of issues considered:
Senate Bill 5 (& SB 57) - These bills address the problem of synthetic marijuana, which has been found to be far more dangerous than actual "pot." They define a "synthetic cannabinoid" and makes possessing, dealing in, manufacturing, or delivering it the same criminal penalty as with marijuana or hashish.
Senate Bill 29 - This bill concerns the crime of child solicitation in our sex-saturated society. When I first began as an intern in the Indiana House in 1990 there were very few bills addressing criminal sexual misconduct with children. Today, it is not unusual to have a dozen different bills concerning solicitation, "sexting", child porn or what used to be statutory rape, now called sexual misconduct with a minor.
Senate Bill 43 - Here is another example of this issue. This bill requires that certain persons convicted of child molesting and violent sex offenders be required to wear a GPS tracking device upon parole.
Senate Bill 50 - This bill would require any woman obtaining an elective abortion to have an ultrasound beforehand.
House Bill 1028 (& HB 1043)- Those who seem to think that protecting marriage and keeping the importance of both a mother and a father in that institution is a distraction or too controversial to address should consider these bills. HB 1028 and 1043 are "right to work" bills, which prohibit as a condition of employment the requirement that an employee join a union or pay union dues. I personally believe this bill could have economic benefits for Indiana, but the last time this was seriously attempted, over five thousand noisy protesters stormed the capitol building. It was the biggest demonstration I've ever seen at our capitol in my 20 years of experience there. If controversy is an excuse for avoiding an important issue, marriage protection is far less controversial than many other bills we will see this year.
House Bill 1042 - This bill concerns the issue of cell phone "sexting" and the illegal dissemination and possession of sexual material. The bill addresses this problem in schools among students. The problem has become so severe and pervasive that many believe charging kids with serious felonies is not a realistic option. I do not necessarily agree. (If kids knew the seriousness of this crime, they might be less inclined to take that risk.) Yet, this bill is an effort to give schools better tools to address this problem.