Rep. Milo Smith
Rep. Milo Smith

Fans offended by professional athletes who kneel during the national anthem won’t be getting any first-quarter refunds anytime soon.

That’s because House Bill 1011, authored by State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, is dead this year in the Indiana General Assembly.

It’s one of several developments caused by legislative deadlines now starting to go into effect as the Indiana General Assembly nears the halfway point of this year’s short session, with other issues of interest including alcohol sales, medical marijuana and hemp, and gun laws.

The first big deadline was Tuesday. All House measures had to win committee approval by that day in order to advance to the full chamber, Smith said.

Legislation that did not advance out of committee, or failed to receive a chamber vote in the House, generally is considered dead for the year.

However, so-called dead legislation has been known to get resurrected by attaching the language onto a similar proposal still under consideration.

Just hours after House Bill 1011 died due to a lack of a committee hearing, Smith was watching President Donald Trump discussing the need for Americans to show their patriotism, the retiring Columbus lawmaker said.

Smith said he found himself on the edge of his seat watching Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Despite the widespread controversy and partisan criticism, Smith said he would do it all over again because he feels it’s important to show respect for your country.

Sunday liquor/beer sales

By all appearances, Indiana’s prohibition on Sunday liquor and beer sales is about to come to an end, said State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour.

Senate Bill 1, which would allow grocery, convenience and liquor stores to sell alcohol from noon to 8 p.m. Sundays, passed the Senate on third reading Jan. 24.

Meanwhile, what is considered the House version of the same proposal — House Bill 1051 — was approved on third reading Jan. 23, and has been sent to the Senate.

While Lucas expects one of those measures will be approved by the entire General Assembly, the Seymour lawmaker said he is keeping a close eye on proposed changes that might reflect the interests of different lobbying groups.

Citing a World Health Organization study that suggests a connection between Sunday alcohol sales and increases in incidents of domestic violence, Smith said he will not support either measure.

Bills that have successfully passed one legislative chamber won’t be considered by the other until Feb. 12, at the earliest.

Medical marijuana

Although 29 states now permit the use of medical marijuana, Indiana will not be joining their ranks — at least not this year.

House Bill 1106, which permits the cultivation, dispensing and use of medical marijuana by people with serious medical conditions, was allowed to die in committee this week, Smith said.

The measure, introduced by Lucas, did not budge within the House Committee on Public Health for more than two weeks.

However, both Lucas and Smith said they are noticing changing attitudes on medical marijuana among lawmakers, as well as the public.

“We’re starting to see the fear mongering, scare tactics and boogeyman stories aren’t true,” Lucas said.

Smith said he anticipates the issue of medical marijuana will be examined with genuine sincerity by a summer study committee.

Recommendations from that committee will likely be incorporated into a new bill that Lucas promises he will file next year.

Hemp/CBD oil

Although lawmakers aren’t ready for medical marijuana, there is enthusiasm about establishing industrial hemp as a new agricultural market, Lucas said.

House Bill 1137, which promotes the growing of industrial hemp and lessens restrictions on byproducts such as cannabidiol, better known as CBD oil, was passed by a unanimous vote on third reading Wednesday.

“It is a rocket,” said Lucas, who pointed out that CBD oil derived from industrial hemp is now being used for treating opioid addicts.

Earlier this month, Walker said he learned a substantial amount of information about hemp oil during a 45-minute presentation by a prominent Indiana physician.

“I am a 100 percent hemp oil guy now,” Walker told about 60 residents who attended Monday’s Third House session at Mill Race Center.

During that presentation, the senator learned the use of hemp oil is medically sound and doesn’t result in what he called the psychotropics associated with marijuana or hashish.

Guns

Two measures regarding firearms that are backed by a local lawmakers are now considered dead this session.

House Bill 1022 was the constitutional carry bill authored by Lucas that would have enabled Hoosiers to legally carry a handgun without a state license or permit.

Although the Seymour lawmaker acknowledged his bill was opposed by several law enforcement groups, Lucas said the fact that his measure never got a hearing was frustrating.

A different bill backed by Smith, House Bill 1422, that would have allowed designated security team members at a church/school organization to carry handguns during services has also died, Smith said.

Legislative deadlines

Here are upcoming deadlines for the 2018 session of the Indiana General Assembly:

  • The final day for all representatives to vote on House proposals is Monday.
  • Senate bills must clear the full chamber by Tuesday.
  • The General Assembly will take a mid-session break, and not be in session next Wednesday-Friday.
  • Measures passed in the House will go to the Senate, and vice versa, starting the week of Feb. 12.
  • Proposals that pass both the House and Senate with identical language go directly to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb for his signature or veto.
  • State law requires the General Assembly adjourn for the year on or before March 14.
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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.