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Thursday, May 5, 2016

State in Brief

Thursday, January 26, 2012

* Bar exemption sought on Indiana smoking ban bill

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) --The sponsor of a proposal for a broad statewide smoking ban in Indiana says he's working with other legislators to limit the number of exemptions that might be added to the bill.

Rep. Eric Turner of Cicero says it will be Friday or Monday before he'll have the bill called for debate on possible amendments.

Some legislators are pushing to exempt bars and allowing more smoking areas at casinos and horse tracks.

The bill currently would prohibit smoking in most public places and workplaces, including bars. The proposal would allow smoking on the gambling floors of casinos and at fraternal and veterans clubs, cigar and hookah bars and retail tobacco shops.

Rep. Jud McMillin of Brookville says he believes bar owners should have the right to set smoking policies.

* Indiana House backs broader ban on synthetic drugs

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Indiana House has approved a bill that would broaden the state's ban on synthetic drugs to include compounds nicknamed "bath salts" and others that mimic marijuana.

The House voted 97-0 Thursday to endorse adding some two dozen chemical compounds to a law that legislators passed last year that bans the synthetic marijuana known as spice or K2. The bill also specifies that related mixtures are illegal and gives the state pharmacy board the authority to declare a substance is a synthetic drug.

Bill sponsor Rep. Milo Smith of Columbus says such flexibility is needed to react to drug makers adjusting their formulas.

The law treats possessing or dealing synthetic marijuana the same as the real drug. It's punishable by up to a year in jail.

* Senate panel OKs solid waste district funding bill

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- An Indiana Senate committee has approved a bill opposed by environmentalists that targets the revenue-generating powers of the state's solid waste management districts.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 7-6 Thursday for the bill, which now heads to the full Senate.

The bill includes provisions that would strip solid waste districts of their power to impose user fees, and property taxes in most cases.

Hoosier Environmental Council Executive Director Jesse Kharbanda says the Indianapolis-based group supports the idea of improving the accountability of government spending but it's concerned about how the bill would change the waste districts' ability to generate revenue.

Kharbanda says denying them that authority would endanger the sustainability of recycling and hazardous waste collection programs by waste districts across Indiana.

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