Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

February 4, 2014

MAUREEN HAYDEN: Marriage overshadows other legislative activity

Lawmakers moving on lots of measures

(Continued)

• To the irritation of some lawmakers from the state’s worst crime-ridden cities, the Senate also passed a bill that forbids local police from holding gun buy-back events aimed at getting firearms off their streets. The bill also requires police to auction or sell nearly all guns they seize or obtain, including those used in crimes, instead of destroying them.

Senate sponsors argued the guns could be put to better use. Opponents argued no firearm deserves an immortal life.

• Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled House passed a controversial bill to subject the state’s 27,000 recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits — mostly single mothers with children — to mandatory drug testing.

The rule wouldn’t apply to food stamp recipients or other welfare beneficiaries. Nor, despite attempts by some lawmakers, would it apply to state legislators.

Courts have struck down similar measures in other states.

• Both the House and Senate have been working on bills that seek to protect high school athletes from the ravages of brain injury.

The measure, pushed by the National Football League, would require all high school football coaches to complete an NFL-endorsed course on concussions. It comes as the NFL is trying to settle a concussion-related lawsuit brought by 18,000 retired players.

Finally, despite the hopes of some lawmakers who wanted to revive an old bill to decriminalize marijuana, pot has gone nowhere this session.

But cannabis hasn’t been forgotten. The conservative-led Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved a bill to legalize the cultivation and production of industrial hemp. The plant, used to make fiber for paper and cloth, is derived from the same herb that produces marijuana. It’s similar in appearance to the illegal drug but lacks the psychoactive punch of pot.

If the legislation passes, Indiana would have to get a waiver from the federal drug laws that ban hemp production. Backers of the bill predict hemp could be Indiana’s next big cash crop.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for CNHI newspapers in Indiana, including the Kokomo Tribune. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • MARK HEINIG JR.: Will Pence, Ritz and their playmates ever grow up? Many Hoosier Republicans are curious about Gov. Mike Pence’s future. He probably is, too. Assuming he doesn’t wish to return to Congress or retire from politics, he must decide whether to seek another term as governor of Indiana or run for president

    July 25, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Why congressional incumbents keep getting re-elected It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating. In June, a Gallup poll found members’ standing with the American people at a historic low for a mid

    July 25, 2014

  • SEN. JIM BUCK: New laws offer help for kids Families with children who have special needs often face difficulties finding the best care or treatment for their specific circumstance. During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several initiatives to assist these fam

    July 24, 2014

  • BILL STANCZYKIEWICZ: Youth sports leagues are on troubling decline An important youth development activity is looking to end a recent losing streak. Participation in organized youth sports leagues for baseball, football, basketball and soccer declined by 4 percent between 2008-2012, according to a report in the Wall

    July 24, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 23, 2014

  • CECIL BOHANON: Spend down surplus? Been there, done that Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account. This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of more than $2 billion that was over 24 percent of its annual operatin

    July 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Indiana Democrats deal with divide on education On the face of it, the battles between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and supporters and staff of Republican Gov. Mike Pence have been a unifying force for Indiana Democrats. But the scrapping has exposed a deep rift within the party o

    July 22, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Is Evan Bayh contemplating another gubernatorial run? This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapoli

    July 21, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Please go away already My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven't caught up. I don't have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 21, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller