February 7th, 2019
In the shadow of Punxsutawney Phil's forecast for an early spring, we are hopeful that this year’s meeting of the Indiana General Assembly bears little resemblance to the Bill Murray movie classic, Groundhog Day . There are some signals that it may not be a repeat of past years in terms of bias crimes or tobacco legislation … but it’s gonna’ take a little help from our friends.

No Ifs, Ands or Butts About It. Indiana’s tobacco use costs Hoosier businesses over $6 billion a year in health care costs, absenteeism, and productivity loss. That’s why OneZone has made both increasing the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21 as well as increasing the tax on cigarettes part of its legislative priorities agenda. We are encouraged with SB425 passing out of the Senate’s Health Committee today, raising the legal age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21. However, increasing the per-pack tax is meeting more resistance. What can you do? Call or email your Senate representative to get this ball rolling. Meanwhile, OneZone’s Jack Russell lends more insight into an increased tax, or better yet, “user fee.” Read more .

Bias Crimes Bill May See the Light of the Chamber. Senate Pro Tem Rod Bray announced last week that he is considering moving a bias crimes bill out of Rules Committee. As noted in previous communications, bias crimes legislation is a business issue. Without it, we are among the five least welcoming states in the Nation for new business. It is our hope that Sen. Bray moves SB 12 or SB 75 -- both have enumerated lists of characteristics. Stay tuned, but this is another issue for which contacting your State Representatives to voice your support can make a huge difference.

Gun Sense Makes a Move. Rep. Donna Schaibly’s “Red Flag Bill” ( HB1651 ) that addresses seizure of firearms from dangerous people passed unanimously out of committee yesterday. While Indiana has had a “Red Flag Law” on the books since 2005, the concept (and Indiana’s current statute) came to the forefront of the national news following the tragedy in Parkland. Schaibly’s proposed legislation goes further to ensure the tracking and recording of those who have been found by a court to be dangerous.

Plus One: Just can’t get enough of this stuff? There’s still a few seats left at the February Legislative Breakfast on Friday at Conner Priarie. Click here to reserve your seat!