INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers already are debating a number of key issues affecting Hoosiers: Sunday alcohol sales, overcrowding at county jails and various taxes.

This week marks the third of this year’s legislative session, and lawmakers have finished filing more than 400 bills that could become law.

In coming weeks, those bills will be debated in committee hearings, and some will overcome their first hurdle before advancing to the full House or Senate for consideration or they’ll die for the year.

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Local lawmakers hope the bills they’re championing have enough support to make it that far.

They’ve penned legislation inspired by issues facing Hancock County and those that challenge the entire state.

Here’s a look at some of those proposals:

Addiction-related crimes

Sen. Michael Crider, R-Greenfield, carries legislation that would allow those convicted of a crime related to their drug addiction to petition a judge to expunge the conviction from their record after seeking treatment to overcome the addiction that drove them to commit a crime.

The bill requires convicts facing a drug addiction to spend 28 days in an inpatient residential treatment center certified by the division of mental health and addiction and an additional six months receiving outpatient treatment.

Upon completion of the program, they can petition the court that sentenced them to wipe the conviction from their record. Crimes not eligible are murder, voluntary manslaughter and sex crimes.

The bill, Senate Bill 51, has been assigned to the Senate’s judiciary committee.

Tax deductions

A bill authored by Crider provides property tax deductions to farmers whose crops located near an intersection don’t exceed 3 feet.

Senate Bill 265 was inspired by a local resident’s request. Ronnie Mohr asked Crider and Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, to carry the legislation after his brother, Joe Mohr, was involved in a fatal accident at a Hancock County intersection. Mohr told investigators he couldn’t see the truck he struck because high corn limited his visibility.

The bill would have minimal impact on local revenue, the state’s legislative services agency estimates.

The bill has been assigned to the Senate’s appropriations committee.

Wine in restaurants

Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Indianapolis, who represents a portion of Hancock County, has co-authored a bill that would allow patrons to carry wine into a restaurant if the restaurant consents and has a wine retailers permit.

Currently, a person can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor for drinking alcohol at a licensed venue if the beverage was not purchased at the venue.

It’s also illegal for the owner of a restaurant or entertainment venue to allow someone to consume alcohol that wasn’t purchased there. The owner could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

The bill also increases the state’s alcohol excise taxes.

The proposal has been assigned to the House’s public policy committee.

Laying off personnel

Legislation authored by Crider requires cities, towns and counties who must lay off emergency-responders for financial reasons to follow a last-hired first-fired policy.

The last employee hired must be the first person laid off and so on, under Senate Bill 71.

Should the employer be able to add those positions back to its roster, the bill requires cities, towns of counties to offer the job to employees previously laid off before opening it up to others.

The bill has been referred to the Senate’s local government committee.

At a glance

Other bills offered by local lawmakers are:

House Bill 1162

Author: Rep. Robert Cherry

Details: The bill allows the governor to make appointments to the state fair commission and state fair board without regard to the appointee’s political party. The bill also make changes to laws relating to the state fair and its boards.

Status: The bill has been assigned to the House’s agriculture and rural development.

Senate Bill 68

Author: Sen. Mike Crider

Details: The proposal establishes the Internet crimes investigation fund by creating a $10 fee charged to those convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. The funding would be used to investigate Internet crimes against children.

Status: The bill has been assigned to to the Senate’s judiciary committee.

Senate Bill 70

Author: Sen. Mike Crider

Details: The legislation expands the list of offenses that may be prosecuted before a victim reaches 31 years of age to include child molesting, vicarious sexual gratification, child solicitation, child seduction, sexual misconduct with a minor and incest.

Status: The bill has been assigned to to the Senate’s corrections and criminal law committee.

Senate Bill 152

Author: Sen. Mike Crider

Details: The bill requires public entities that employ pubic safety officers to offer health insurance coverage to the families of slain officers after the officers’ deaths.

Status: The bill has been assigned to to the Senate’s appropriations committee and is slated to be heard at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Senate Bill 262

Author: Sen. Mike Crider

Details: The bill requires public the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to issue permanent parking placards to disabled veterans.

Status: The bill has been assigned to to the Senate’s veterans affairs and the military committee.

House Bill 1221

Author: Rep. Sean Eberhart

Details: The bill eliminates the requirement for boards of zoning appeals to provide notice in publications of hearings on administrative appeals, exception, use or variance.

Status: The bill has been assigned to to the House’s  local government committee.

Note: House Speaker Brian Bosma, who represents a portion of western Hancock County, has not filed any bills at this point, though he is a co-author on four.

Keep up

Interested in keeping up on the progress of bills?

Follow bills as they become law by visiting

Committee hearings and House and Senate sessions are taped live at or

Looking ahead

This month, the Daily Reporter tells readers what issues and projects county leaders expect to tackle this year. We’ll update you on everything from education to business and development. Watch upcoming issues of the Daily Reporter to learn more about what to expect in 2018.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or