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Last updated on Tuesday, February 28, 2012
(INDIANAPOLIS) - State lawmakers are going right down to the deadline on two of the most controversial bills of the session.
Sponsors of the anti-smoking bill and a measure regulating how residents can respond when police enter a home are wading through a host of amendments in preparations for votes Tuesday, the last day bills can be amended before a final vote.
There will be significant battles over the no-smoking bill in the Senate, and the police entry measure in the House, RTV6's Norman Cox reported.
The bill to ban smoking statewide in most public places will face at least 18 amendments. Some of them are more restrictive than most lawmakers would like, including one to ban the sale of cigarettes altogether.
Another would ban smoking everywhere except on the gaming floors of casinos, and another would extend the number of exemptions by also allowing smoking in bars.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, said the key vote will be on the amendment limiting smoking only to casinos.
"Because if you can do that and get the majority to vote on that, the rest of them are moot issues," said Alting. "So I suspect that should be the very first amendment offered and in question, because if we can get that done, then that simply says that the rest of them's moot issues."
Alting said he isn't sure if the amendment will pass.
"It's going to be interesting," he said. "Again, we're in uncharted waters in the Senate."
Sponsors of the bill to govern when residents can use force against police unlawfully entering a home continue to work with police to try and blunt their opposition to the measure.
They will try to amend the bill Tuesday to reduce the homeowner's leeway to use deadly force against an entering officer unless the resident is convinced the officer is acting illegally and threatening occupants' safety.
"We just want to have some extra time to talk with law enforcement officers and the prosecutors' organization and make sure that we are clear on what these amendments are going to do to the law and try and garner as much support as we can from everybody who's gonna be involved with this and affected by it," said Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville.
Bill sponsors generally know how votes will turn out on the floor, but this time, they said they are unable to predict how things will shake out, especially on the smoking bill.
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