Statehouse Briefs: Gambling bill almost done, self defense bill on Governor’s desk

-Self-defense protections would extend to lawsuits under a bill headed for Governor Holcomb.The bill gives you immunity from being sued if you shoot someone who’s committing a violent crime. If a prosecutor doesn’t file criminal charges, a lawsuit would have to persuade a judge at the outset that there’s a good reason to sue you anyway. Seymour Representative Jim Lucas (R) says the bill was prompted in part by a 2017 case of a woman honored by her local police department for shooting someone who pulled a gun on an officer, but is still trying to fend off a lawsuit.

-A potential deal on a gambling bill would legalize sports betting in Indiana in time for football season. Senate Majority Leader Mark Messmer’s proposal moves Gary’s casino downtown and allows one in Terre Haute. It turns Anderson and Shelbyville’s racetracks into full casinos a year ahead of schedule, with live dealers allowed alongside video terminals starting next year. And it legalizes sports betting July 1 — but the Indiana Gaming Commission would still have to finalize rules for sports bets. The bill would allow bets to be placed by smartphone, though they’d still have to be funneled through a casino. Messmer says the bill is “99-percent done,” but says there could be some final tweaks before House and Senate leaders sign off on the proposal and clear the way for final votes in the full House and Senate.

– Indiana lawmakers are nearing final decisions on how much more money will go toward school districts as teachers have been pushing for significant pay raises.  The Republican-dominated Legislature must agree on a new two-year state budget before ending this year’s session, possibly as early as Wednesday. Republican budget plans have proposed increases of about 2.5% in base funding for K-12 schools. Hundreds of teachers have attended rallies seeking greater funding increases, while Republican state schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick said GOP Statehouse leaders gave a “false promise” on teacher raises. Votes could come Tuesday on a proposal legalizing sports