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State capitol

A reflection of the Indiana State Capitol in Indianapolis.

The 2018 legislative session won't hold the seismic laws ripe with Northwest Indiana benefits that we saw in 2017.

Last year ushered in incentives tied to commuter rail expansion, commuter rail funding, long-term sustainable road funding and so many other important and needed legislative efforts.

But this year, there are some important moves afoot in the General Assembly deserving of support.

Indiana appears poised to step out of its archaic law pertaining to Sunday alcohol sales.

Consumers and capitalism will both benefit if this happens.

A bill that would allow Sunday retail alcohol sales already has passed an Indiana Senate committee. It deserves to pass both chambers and be signed by the governor.

As currently written, the bill would allow Sunday retail alcohol sales between noon and 8 p.m.

Ultimately, it could help keep alcohol sales and related revenue in the Hoosier state, rather than in Illinois and other border states where Hoosiers must drive if they want to buy packaged alcohol on Sundays.

The Legislature may consider amending the measure to allow Sunday retail alcohol sales from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. the next day, which is the law every other day of the week.

Lawmakers also should pass a law allowing cold beer sales at retail establishments other than liquor stores. This proposal appears to have less support and traction — but should be adopted for the sake of competitive commerce and consumer convenience.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb also is making a compelling case for developing a strong workforce.

He needs the Legislature's help in this endeavor.

Calling it the "defining issue of the decade" in his State of the State address Tuesday, Holcomb noted the Hoosier state must do a better job of cultivating and training a workforce meeting the needs of Hoosier companies.

That means better opportunities and weight placed on skilled trades training and certifications, not necessarily college degrees.

"Our greatest challenge is that too many Hoosiers lack the education and skills for the jobs that are here today and being created tomorrow — nearly all of which require post-secondary education," he said.

Holcomb has vowed to double the state's apprenticeship programs to train 25,000 workers and to create incentives for more companies to enhance workers' skills. He also seeks programs to enroll prison inmates in trades certificate programs to hasten re-entry into society.

The governor also called on lawmakers to require all schools to offer at least one computer science course by 2021, with funding to train teachers, and Holcomb endorsed a recent move by the State Board of Education to require career training for high school graduation.

It's not as plentiful a list as last year's, but it's no less important a collection of priorities.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.