Bills on the Legal Age for Smoking and Hate Crimes Fail to Advance

(AP) — Indiana House Republicans have killed a bill that would have increased the legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The measure by Democratic Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary was killed Tuesday in a procedural maneuver by House Speaker Brian Bosma. It comes just one day after the House Public Health Committee approved the measure on a 9-0 vote.

Raising the smoking age is a top priority for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, prompting the group to issue a rare rebuke.

President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said there was “no valid reason” to kill the bill. He said the “true victims” are those who develop poor health from smoking.

Indiana consistently ranks poorly among states when it comes to key measures of public health, including smoking rates.



 (AP) — A push for Indiana to adopt a law targeting hate crimes has failed again in the state Legislature.

The bill was set for consideration Tuesday morning in a state Senate committee, but the chairman says he decided to not take a vote because a consensus couldn’t be reached over its wording.

Bills targeting hate crimes have failed in recent years and Indiana is one of just five states without laws against crimes motivated by factors such as race, gender, religion and sexual orientation.

Republican legislative leaders had voiced support for the measure, but social conservatives against it argued hate crime laws create special protected classes that treat victims of similar crimes differently. Supporters maintained the lack of such a law makes Indiana look backward.