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Representative Brown continues fight for smoking ban

As Indiana legislators continue their final negotiations of the 2010, Representative Charlie Brown of Gary continues his push for a statewide smoking ban.

Today in conference committee, Brown added the smoking ban legislation to a health bill along with several other pieces of senate legislation.

Brown says he did this in the hopes of getting senate conferees to agree to the ban that would only exempt casinos and racinos, tax exempt clubs such as VFWs and American Legions and tobacco businesses.

“There was testimony that showed we spend over a billion dollars a year in Indiana alone, a billion dollars, on smoking related illnesses. So why would, in these austere times why would not everyone want to save at least a portion of that billion dollars by having people not come into contact with second hand smoke.”

Brown says he has three of the four necessary signatures. He’s awaiting the fourth from Senator Patricia Miller of Indianapolis who represents the Senate Republicans.

Brian Caoimhghin Flood

Ethics bill moves on to Governor’s desk

The Indiana House of Representatives gave their final approval to an ethics reform bill that will make changes to the rules that govern legislators, lobbyists and the executive branch.

Speaker of the House Pat Bauer of South Bend, who authored the bill, made ethics reform a major focus of the legislative session.

The bill will lower the dollar amount that requires claiming of a gift from one hundred dollars to fifty, will require a one year grace period before becoming a lobbyist and will raise the fines for lobbyists that fail to comply with rules.

The bill will also make universities lobbyists subject to the same gift giving rules as other lobbyists.

Bauer says it is time for reform and praised the work done by all those involved.

“This house bill 1001 has been a collaborative effort of both the house and the senate and both parties. It’s the first ethics reform bill in, probably, twenty five, thirty years.”

The bill will also prohibit the executive branch from raising campaign funds during budget sessions.

Governor Mitch Daniels says the bill will be remembered as one of the best things that happened in this session, signaling his intent to sign the bill into law.

Brian Caoimhghin Flood

Indiana Senate passes gun bill

Senators vote on a gun bill, photo by Brian Flood

Today Indiana Senators voted on a bill that would reduce the amount of control private companies and government, have over gun owners. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brian Flood has the story.

hear the story

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