Indiana Senate Republicans have laid out their legislative agenda for the 2018 session of the Indiana General Assembly. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long (R-16) says while the state has made "great strides" over the last 10 years, there are still ways to improve. Key measures focus on fighting the opioid epidemic and allowing Sunday alcohol sales.
In a news release Monday, Long said, "This session, we will continue to fight the opioid epidemic, look for ways to improve our workforce development efforts and support our schools. We will also be working to improve civil forfeiture laws and will work to allow the carryout sale of alcohol on Sundays. There is a lot of work to be done in the coming months on all of these issues, but our caucus is ready to take on those challenges. We look forward to the session ahead."
The top priorities for the Senate Republican Caucus in 2018 include:
Fight the drug epidemic (Senate Bill 221)
- Help prevent opioid abuse by phasing in a requirement for doctors to check INSPECT, the state’s prescription-monitoring service, when prescribing opioids to a patient.
Improve workforce development (Senate Bill 50)
- Expand financial aid for job-training programs and require high schools to offer computer science.
Support our schools (Senate Bill 189)
- Increase school funding to account for higher-than-expected enrollment and adjust Indiana’s diploma system to make sure all high-school graduates are counted in Indiana’s federal graduation rate.
Reform civil forfeiture laws (Senate Bill 99)
- Reform Indiana’s civil forfeiture laws to better balance law-enforcement needs and property owners’ Constitutional rights.
Allow Sunday alcohol sales (Senate Bill 1)
- Act on the recommendation of the Alcohol Code Revision Commission to allow the carryout sale of alcohol on Sundays in Indiana.
Some of the Senate Republicans’ priorities are in line with the agenda from House Republicans, which was detailed last week. In addition to efforts to fight the opioid epidemic and improve workforce development and school funding, the House GOP says it is looking to consolidate low-population townships and streamline local and state government reporting requirements.
House Democrats released their legislative agenda last week as well. Some of the group’s top priorities include increasing the state’s minimum wage and address the controversy related to the state’s Department of Child Services.