Weekly Statehouse Update: Payday Lending Dies, Revenue Forecast Projects Tighter Budget

Apr 19, 2019

A controversial payday lending bill died on the House floor. A revenue forecast projects less money for lawmakers to work with in the new state budget. And a bill to create payouts for exonerated prisoners is headed to the governor.

Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

Payday Lending Bill Dies

The divisive lending bill created a new type of loan, between small payday loans and traditional bank loans. Proponents said it was an option for Hoosiers with bad credit who needed money but couldn’t get it from traditional lenders.

But opponents sharply criticized the high annual percentage rates allowed by the bill, up to 167 percent. The measure wasn’t called for a final vote on the House floor before a critical deadline.

Revenue Forecast

Updated revenue and Medicaid forecasts this week project lawmakers will have about $100 million less to work with than previously anticipated as they finalize the state budget.

Legislative leaders say that will force tough conversations about what priorities make the cut.

The public got its last chance Thursday to weigh in on the budget bill as lawmakers finalize the state’s new two-year, $34 billion spending plan. Much of the testimony focused on education spending, with teacher and school advocates pushing for more money.

Exonerated Prisoners To Governor

And a bill headed to the governor’s desk will give $50,000 for each year an innocent person spends behind bars. Exonerated prisoners could still sue the state if they opt not to take the payouts. Those court awards are typically much bigger but take longer to collect.

Vaping Tax Could Be Revived

Outstanding questions sidelined a bill in the legislature to tax vaping products. But the bill’s sponsor feels confident the legislation will move forward this year.

The bill would create a 20 percent tax on vaping products and modify state law to restrict the sale of vaping products to minors. But during its second reading, lawmakers instead moved to study the issue during the summer.

If lawmakers can come to a consensus about the legislation, they may be able to send the bill to the governor by the end of this session.

Cursive Writing Added To Education Bill

Cursive writing is back on the discussion table at the statehouse, as Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) continues her nearly decade-long campaign to require Hoosier schools teach cursive writing.

This year, her bill didn’t get an initial committee hearing in the Senate and died. But ahead of a key legislative deadline, Leising offered an amendment to a multi-purpose education bill to accomplish her goal. It would require all accredited elementary schools – private, public and charter – to include cursive writing in their curriculum.

Gaming Bill Passes House

The session’s gaming bill passed the House Monday. But many supporters say they want a number of changes to the final version of the bill.

A number of legislators had changes they would recommend as the House and Senate work out the differences between their two versions. One example: mobile sports betting.

Gaming is the fourth largest source of revenue for the state.

Foster Care Reform

The Senate sent a bill to the governor’s desk Thursday that aims to reform Indiana’s foster care system.

The legislation changes how foster parents interact with both the Department of Child Services and the court system.

Fertility Fraud

A bill creating civil and criminal penalties for fertility fraud is headed to the governor’s desk.

The measure came out of the case of Indiana Dr. Donald Cline, who fathered dozens of children without his patients’ knowledge or consent.