INDIANAPOLIS - INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has announced its top legislative priorities for 2020. The chamber says it will focus on legislation to lower the smoking rate of Hoosiers and decrease vaping rates among youth as well as efforts that support talent attraction initiatives and development of a state energy plan. 

“Raising the age for legal purchase of all tobacco and vaping products, increasing the cigarette tax and taxing e-cigarette products should fall into the no-brainer category,” says Indiana Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brinegar.  

According to officials, Indiana falls behind other areas of the Midwest in FAFSA filings, ranking 34th nationwide. The chamber wants to mediate this issue by requiring most high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. 

The chamber also discussed the importance of attracting and retaining talent in the Hoosier state. 

 “Hoosier employers are routinely missing out on hiring qualified individuals from other states or countries because of Indiana’s rigid professional licensing laws that essentially demand relicensing and don’t recognize a person’s existing credential,” Brinegar said. 

The entire list of Indiana Chamber top legislative priorities includes: 

  • Addressing the vaping dangers and reducing the state’s smoking rate by increasing the legal purchase age on both from 18 to 21, as well as instituting a tax on vaping products and increased tax on cigarettes
  • More transparency in health care costs and lessening the incidence of “surprise billing”
  • Unemployment insurance tax liability certainty for employers while also ensuring fund solvency
  • Reducing or eliminating unnecessary professional licensing requirements that can hinder talent attraction
  • Create regional management authorities across the state to boost quality of place funding to make local communities and economies more vibrant
  • Development and implementation of a diversified energy policy that ensures the state’s continued access to adequate, reliable, affordable and cost-effective energy
  • Strengthening Indiana’s high school accountability system to provide greater transparency and comparability for parents and more meaningful outcomes for students
  • Requiring Indiana high school seniors to complete the FAFSA – with an opt-out option – so more receive financial aid and pursue credentials and degrees  
  • Significant investment in Indiana’s water infrastructure and prudent planning for the future

For a detailed rundown of the Indiana Chamber’s 2020 key legislative initiatives, click here