(INDIANAPOLIS) - Legislators are reaching deals on several key pieces of legislation, including a controversial bill dealing with guns in school parking lots and bills to expand mass transit and pre-kindergarten.
The bill, as it was sent to conference committee, would have allowed gun-carrying school employees to take their firearms onto school property, as long as the gun was locked away in their car.
The proposal, added into a gun-buyback bill (SB 229), would have decriminalized the act of leaving a gun stowed away in your car in a school parking lot. It's currently legal for drivers to have a gun in the car while driving through a school parking lot, but it's currently a felony to have a gun on your person, or in the car, upon leaving your vehicle.
Opponents objected, and now lawmakers have reached a compromise, which essentially makes it a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
There are some other clauses, and exceptions, which you can read about in the full SB 229 conference committee report.
A conference committee also came to an agreement on a bill to expand mass transit in Central Indiana (Senate Bill 176). Earlier this week, lawmakers were close to a deal that would prohibit light rail as part of the new transit system.
The bill provides includes Delaware, Hamilton, Hancock, Johnson, Madison and Marion counties, which would pay for the system through local option taxes that would have to be approved by voter referendums. It does not include a proposed business tax, an idea that was taken out of the measure.
The House and Senate passed separate versions of the bill, and both chambers have been negotiating since then. This is the third year the General Assembly has taken up the mass transit issue, but the issue has not advanced this far.
Lawmakers also reached a deal on pre-kindergarten, one of Gov. Mike Pence's top priorities. The compromise measure allows for a pilot program for early education. It also mandates that the state conduct a study tracking students to determine their progress in kindergarten and later grades.
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