INDIANAPOLIS — Every year at the Statehouse a few big issues tend to stand out, such as road funding or discrimination, but often it is the little-noticed, generally uncontroversial measures approved by lawmakers that actually keep Indiana humming.
"This is an extremely exciting bill here," joked state Rep. Tony Cook, R-Cicero, as he presented Senate Bill 3 to the House on Tuesday.
His legislation, which is co-sponsored by state Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, is a "trailer bill" to the massive, 213-page education deregulation law enacted last year (Senate Enrolled Act 500), because it follows behind and cleans up errors.
For example, several provisions changed by the deregulation law also were the subject of other education laws enacted last year, so Cook's legislation fixes now-conflicting sections of the Indiana Code enabling educators, parents and school officials to know what they are to do.
Similarly, Senate Bill 9, also sponsored by Cook and Rogers, eliminates an old data-reporting requirement for charter schools because the schools already must submit the same data under a newer, more comprehensive statute.
Both measures were approved 95-0 and soon are expected to be signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence.
When policymakers want just a word or two added to the Indiana Code, it still takes enactment of a new law to make it happen.
State Rep. Julie Olthoff, R-Crown Point, is sponsor of Senate Bill 17, adding strangulation to the 15 felonies for which a person convicted of those crimes has to pay a $50 domestic violence prevention fee.
With no opposition from strangulation supporters that measure also passed 95-0. Altogether, the House approved 11 such proposals Tuesday.
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, at one point even felt obliged to apologize to the Girl Scouts watching the House from gallery seats high above the chamber floor for the lack of conflict, and even much debate, among representatives.
"It doesn't always work so unanimously," Bosma said.