At the state capital…..

Legislation on enclosed deer hunting, education control, pseudophedrine purchasing and religious freedom move forward or is still being considered….

ENCLOSED DEER HUNTING

 Indiana’s four current high-fenced deer-hunting preserves would be legalized under a bill approved by the Indiana House.

House members voted 55-39 on Tuesday on a bill that sets up a licensing and inspection process for the preserves where farm-raised deer are hunted.

The preserves currently aren’t regulated in Indiana and the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the Department of Natural Resources overstepped its authority in trying to shut them down.

Bill sponsor Rep. Sean Eberhart of Shelbyville says the preserves need commonsense rules to continue and that it will benefit Indiana’s nearly 400 deer farms.

Rep. Clyde Kersey of Terre Haute opposed the bill, arguing the preserves don’t offer true hunting and increase the risk of spreading diseases to the state’s wild deer.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

 

EDUCATION CONTROL

 The Republican-dominated Indiana Senate has advanced a bill that would remove Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz from automatically chairing the State Board of Education.

Senate members voted 33-17 Tuesday to advance the proposal that would allow board members to elect their own chairman, most likely removing Ritz from the position.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence now appoints all 10 other board members. The Senate proposal would shrink it to a nine-member board made up of the superintendent, four appointments by the governor and one appointment each for the Republican and Democratic leaders of both the House and Senate.

Supporters say the change is necessary to fix a dysfunctional education board.

The House approved a similar bill last week that opponents say would disenfranchise voters who elected Ritz as superintendent in 2012.

 

INDIANA METH

 A state Senate committee has endorsed a bill that would make it tougher for drug offenders to buy cold medicines that contain a key ingredient in the production of methamphetamine.

Corrections and Criminal Law Committee members voted Tuesday to advance the proposal requiring someone with a drug-related felony conviction within the past seven years to get a prescription before purchasing medicine containing pseudoephedrine.

Since lawmakers question whether that step will effectively curb Indiana’s meth problem, the bill establishes a four-year trial period. If the measure doesn’t significantly reduce the number of meth-related incidents, pseudoephedrine would become a prescription-only drug for all consumers, not just convicted felons.

The Senate Appropriations Committee also must approve the bill before it can go before the full Senate.

 

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

 A proposed Indiana religious freedom lawthat’s divided some business groups and Gov. Mike Pence is up for consideration by a state Senate committee.

Supporters of the bill say it would protect people and businesses from being compelled to provide services for same-sex weddings and other activities they find objectionable. They also maintain the proposal would shield religious minorities from government interference.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and other business groups told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that the Republican-sponsored proposal could hurt the state’s reputation and make it more difficulty to attract companies.

The committee could vote on advancing the bill during a Wednesday morning meeting.