Indiana lawmakers approve cannabis oil bill

By Charles Edward (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the closing day of the Indiana legislative session (all times local):

11:35 p.m.

The Indiana Legislature has sent a package of bills aimed at improving jobs training in the state to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk.

Both the House and Senate signed off on the measures Wednesday.

Improving the state’s job training and work force development programs was supposed to be a major issue this session.

Holcomb even said it was his primary focus. But instead, lawmakers downsized their ambitions and hope to revisit the issue next year.

The legislation will reorganize the board that oversees those programs. It also broadens eligibility requirements for some worker training funding.

Democrats likened it to rearranging patio furniture.


10:05 p.m.

A bill that would allow for the sale and use of cannabis-derived CBD oil across the state is on its way to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk.

The measure was overwhelmingly approved Wednesday by both the House and Senate in the closing hours of this year’s legislative session.

Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD oil, can be derived from marijuana and hemp, but lacks the stuff that gets people high.

A law passed last year allowed those with a severe form of epilepsy to use the substance.

Now lawmakers are going further, following an unexpected crackdown on CBD sales and widespread confusion over whether the product was actually legal.

Anyone could use the product if the bill is signed into law by Holcomb.


8:10 p.m.

The Indiana Legislature has given final passage to a proposal that would lift a prohibition on young immigrants referred to as “Dreamers” from obtaining state professional licenses.

The House and Senate both voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure on Wednesday. Gov. Eric Holcomb has said he supports the measure.

Republican Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany championed the effort after he was contacted by a young woman in his district.

“Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, are allowed to work and study under former President Barack Obama’s program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

But recent changes adopted by Indiana’s Professional Licensing Agency bars DACA recipients from obtaining licenses for dozens of occupations ranging from cosmetology to nursing.

The agency said it’s following a 2011 state law.


3:20 p.m.

A bill that would allow parents to review sex education curriculum and “opt out” their children from such classes has been approved by the Indiana Legislature.

The Senate on Wednesday approved the measure on a 41-8 vote. The bill already passed the House.

It would require public schools to make two attempts to notify parents in advance of planned sex education classes.

Lafayette Republican Sen. Ron Alting praised the bill’s sponsor Sen. Dennis Kruse agreeing to changes that were made to the bill in the House. Initially the Auburn Republican wanted to make it mandatory for parents across the state to “opt in” their children for sex education.

Indianapolis Democratic Sen. Greg Taylor opposed the bill, saying it’s important for students to learn more about sex education, including sexual identity.


1:45 p.m.

Democrats in the Indiana Legislature are blasting the majority Republicans for doing little of substance during this year’s legislative session.

House Minority Leader Terry Goodin likened this year’s session to a Twinkie. He says it filled up plenty of time, but lacked anything of value.

Republicans managed expectations before this year’s session even started, saying they didn’t have any big policy goals. They further lowered their ambitions as the weeks went by. A House Republican plan to eliminate some township governments died early.

Many plans Republicans had to improve workforce training programs have been reduced to primarily reorganizing a board that governs such efforts. That still needs final approval.

Democrats likened that to rearranging deck chairs.

Republicans did achieve one major accomplishment: They legalized carryout sales of alcohol on Sundays.


12 p.m.

A stopgap bill that will cover an unexpected shortage in public school funding is on its way to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk.

The measure was given final passage Wednesday when the Senate voted 47-0 in favor of the measure, which the House has already approved.

The measure was a top priority this year for Republicans who dominate the Legislature. It will provide up to $25 million this year and $75 million next year to cover the funding shortfall.

The money would be transferred from reserve funds to the state general fund and then distributed to districts.

Republican leaders say the shortage in school funding is the result of an unexpected surge in public school enrollment.

That’s because school funding follows the student in Indiana and lawmakers hadn’t anticipated the enrollment jump when they crafted a two-year budget last year.


1 a.m.

Indiana lawmakers entered the final day of the annual legislative session with a substantial amount of work left to do and a midnight deadline to get it done by.

The Indiana House worked into the evening hours Tuesday to vote on proposals. But the Senate abruptly adjourned Tuesday afternoon, leaving the remainder of its work for Wednesday.

That raises the possibility that many bills could get killed as lawmakers run out of time.

Negotiations have been ongoing on proposals for eliminating handgun licensing fees. And lawmakers must still vote on making changes to the leadership of the state’s workforce development programs.

Other issues still in play include legislation allowing Ball State University to take over Muncie schools, a measure giving parents more control over sex education and a stopgap school funding bill.

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