INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana General Assembly has begun to advance a number of proposals during the 2013 legislative session. Senate Democrat Caucus Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) has introduced a number of bills focusing on a broad range of issues.
Senate Bill (SB) 382 would protect senior citizens 60 years and older from financial exploitation by creating the Senior Consumer Protection Act. This bill responds to the rising rate of scams targeting senior citizens and protects them against fraudulent claims. Individuals who commit financial exploitation of seniors would have their assets frozen, be issued an injunction and have to pay investigation or prosecution costs. The bill would also increase civil penalty costs from $50 to up to $5,000 per violation, while violations of trust would result in stiffer penalties.
Implementation of federal Affordable Care Act
Sen. Lanane has co-authored SB 540 which would expand affordable health care coverage by creating a state health exchange. Within this exchange, employers could locate health care coverage to enroll in and compare online. Potential enrollees will also receive educational outreach. Another aspect of the bill involves expanding health care coverage to families of four making $33,000 a year. Current law limits care to families making $4,100 or less a year. This expansion could impact as many as 400,000 Hoosiers and increase medical service demands, creating thousands of jobs. The bill would also establish the Indiana Affordable Care Study Committee to research the best benefits option offered by participating insurance companies.
Tax ease for retired veterans
SB 264 responds to increased burdens veterans face during the economic recession. The bill would provide relief to veterans by exempting the adjusted gross income tax (AGI) from affecting military retirement pension incomes. The bill would begin expansion of the AGI deduction in the 2014 tax year.
Commission on Improving the Status of Children
SB 147 would create a commission to review and improve the well-being of children. The Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana would evaluate various areas, including early childhood education, poverty and hunger, health, child abuse and infant mortality rates. The purpose of the commission would be to develop long-term plans and legislation to improve child advancement. The bill would require the commission to obtain annual reports by June 30 of each year from various agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Child Services and the Indiana State Department of Health.
Certified Technology Park
SB 381 would present a tax scenario that allows high-technology businesses to grow in Indiana. Certified Technology Parks (CTPs) could gradually regain state income, state sales and local income taxes for successfully incubating businesses moving to an outside location within the same county. Current law only allows CTPs to acquire these taxes when businesses generate revenue within the park. The incremented amount gained would gradually phase out over a five-year span. When periods of recertification apply, CTPs can also apply to redraw the district park boundaries to enhance development.
CTPs serve to support and create interest in high-technology business growth. As of 2012, Indiana has 23 CTPs designated by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation which reviews and recertifies the parks every four years.
Raising casino competition
Indiana’s revenue from riverboats and racinos has steadily decreased due to increased competition from neighboring states. To combat this, SB 528 would offer new opportunities for gaming competition in Indiana. Live game tables would be allowed at horse tracks, and riverboat casinos could move gambling inland. Other changes include replacing admission taxes with supplemental wagering taxes and creating limited mobile gaming systems at off-location casinos. The proposal will allow for revenue increases and job expansion.
Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 encompassing portions of Madison and Delaware counties including Muncie and the southeastern portion of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S25 .
NOTE: A photo of Sen. Tim Lanane can be downloaded at http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_democrats/images/headshots/Lanane.JPG