INDIANAPOLIS | The clock is ticking toward a midnight Thursday deadline for Gov. Mike Pence to act on some three dozen remaining proposals approved this month by the Indiana General Assembly.
Two of the items awaiting a decision are among the most controversial to pass the Republican-controlled Legislature: House Enrolled Act 1403 permits landlords to opt out of municipal inspection programs; Senate Enrolled Act 340 terminates a popular state-managed energy-efficiency program.
He also faces decisions on whether to prohibit privatizing the state annuity option for retired government employees (House Enrolled Act 1075), regulate mopeds (House Enrolled Act 1343) and require the Lake County Convention and Visitors Authority to disclose its spending on a state website (House Enrolled Act 1380).
The Republican governor must decide for each measure whether to sign it into law, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.
In addition, Pence has not indicated what he'll do with Senate Enrolled Act 367, which closes a Lake County tax loophole and redirects the $4 million in annual savings to the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority to help pay for expanding the South Shore Line to Dyer.
On Wednesday, Pence signed new laws easing restrictions on guns in school parking lots (Senate Enrolled Act 229), legalizing the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes (Senate Enrolled Act 357) and accepting final revisions to the state's new criminal code (House Enrolled Act 1006).
He also endorsed a requirement that home inspections include attics and basements (Senate Enrolled Act 329), consolidated the state's small-business assistance programs (House Enrolled Act 1332) and permitted some feral cats to run free in mobile home parks (House Enrolled Act 1199).
Pence indicated he will sign House Enrolled Act 1004 at Thursday's Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Once enacted, that law allows Pence to spend up to $400 million in previously set-aside funds on state highway projects, likely including the addition of a new lane in both directions on Interstate 65 between Merrillville and Lowell and supporting development of the Illiana Expressway.
The governor also said he will sign House Enrolled Act 1002, creating a pilot preschool voucher program to provide early education classes for at least 1,000 low-income children in five to-be-determined counties.