2014 Indiana General Assembly

Child tan ban, cursive writing mandate approved by Senate

2014-01-23T15:39:00Z 2014-01-23T19:05:33Z Child tan ban, cursive writing mandate approved by SenateDan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
January 23, 2014 3:39 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | More than two dozen legislative proposals were separately approved Thursday by the Republican-controlled House and Senate, sending them across the Statehouse rotunda and into the opposite chamber.

Here's a look at some of the measures that cleared the first of three major hurdles toward becoming Indiana law:

Tanning — Senate Bill 50, co-sponsored by state Sens. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, and Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake, prohibits children younger than 16 from ever using a tanning device in a commercial establishment. Current law permits children to use tanning beds with a parent's permission.

The measure was approved 30-17. State Sen. Jim Smith, R-Charlestown, who voted no, said the state shouldn't interfere in parenting decisions.

State Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, said most parents and children aren't aware of the significant cancer risks posed by artificial tanning, especially for children, and the state has an interest in preserving their health.

Cursive writing — Senate Bill 113, sponsored by state Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, requires all public and private elementary schools to teach cursive writing. It also designates reading as a specific curriculum item, in addition to an existing mandate that schools teach English and language arts.

Tony Bennett, the Republican former state superintendent of public instruction, urged Indiana schools in April 2011 to drop cursive instruction in favor of keyboarding. Current Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, supports the cursive requirement.

Road funding — House Bill 1104, sponsored by state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, directs the Indiana Department of Transportation to contract with a third-party expert to conduct a two-year comprehensive study of options for funding Indiana's future road and transit needs.

Among the options that must be considered is replacing the state's gasoline tax with a per-mile road charge.

Nursing homes — Senate Bill 173, sponsored by Miller, imposes a five-year moratorium on the licensing of new comprehensive care health facilities.

At 74 percent, the state has one of the lowest nursing home occupancy rates in the county, with more than 13,000 vacant beds. Miller said the moratorium will stabilize the comprehensive care facilities market while not affecting assisted or independent living services, small group homes or other care options.

Farmers' rights — Senate Bill 186, sponsored by state Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, declares the Legislature supports policies that "conserve, protect and encourage" Indiana agriculture.

To that end, the measure advises courts to construe state law "to protect the rights of farmers to choose among all generally accepted farming and livestock production practices, including the use of ever-changing technology."

Expungement — House Bill 1155, sponsored by state Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, revises several sections of the 2013 criminal expungement law to make it easier for Hoosiers to ask a court to clear their past criminal records.

Business incentives — House Bill 1020, sponsored by state Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, orders the Legislature's Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy to undertake a five-year review of the effectiveness of all state and local tax incentives intended to boost economic development.

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