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Alcohol sales, handguns and abortion clinics: What you missed this week in the Indiana General Assembly

As the Indiana General Assembly approaches its final weeks for this session, bills are passing out of committee and will soon be up for their final votes, potentially passing into law. The session is scheduled to end March 14.

Alcohol sales

Hoosiers could begin purchasing carryout alcohol on Sundays as early as next week, if all goes as planned.

The Senate approved a consolidated House version of Senate Bill 1 on Thursday. The bill would legalize the sale of carryout alcohol in liquor, grocery, drug and convenience stores from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays. 

The bill now heads to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is expected to sign it next week. If he does, the law would go into effect starting Sunday, March 4. 

Originally, the bill would have gone into effect July 1, like all bills from the Indiana General Assembly. However, an amendment was added which would put the law into effect upon passage of the bill. 

Firearms and worship areas

A bill that would allow a person to possess a firearm on a church property, whether or not there was also a school on the same property, passed Wednesday through a House committee.

The bill would allow a person to possess a firearm on the property as long as it is approved by the church. The bill covers anyone who is an employee or volunteer at a house of worship located on a school property and anyone attending a worship service or religious ceremony conducted at the house of worship.

Currently, Indiana residents can carry a gun on church property as long as there is not also a school on the property. This bill would change that.

The bill now heads to the full House to be amended and voted on.

Handgun licenses

A bill that would remove a fee for a lifetime carry permit and extend the four-year handgun carry license to a five-year license passed Wednesday through the Senate judiciary committee.

A week after 17 people died in a Florida school shooting, lawmakers disagreed on whether or not this was the best course of action for Indiana gun laws. Those in favor of the bill argued it would create stricter license regulations, while those against the bill worried it would actually loosen gun laws in Indiana.

Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said he perceived the bill as potentially going down the road of loosening license regulations. 

“I don’t want to do anything at this point in time, given the state of our nation, to make our laws any easier to get a gun,” Lanane said.

Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, said the bill is actually more stringent than current Indiana law. 

“There’s no system that I’m aware of on the planet that is perfect,” Freeman said. “There is nothing that is perfect.”

The bill now heads to the Senate Committee on Appropriations before being sent to the full Senate where it will be up for amendments and a vote.

Abortion Clinics

A bill that would impose more regulations on abortion passed Wednesday through a House committee.

The bill would require clinics to report any complications that may have arisen from an abortion. It would also require women to look at the drug manufacturer’s instruction sheets and sign the manufacturer’s patient agreement form.

Author of the bill Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, said in a Feb. 14 committee hearing the purpose of the bill is to update Indiana’s law, since it is not up to date with current healthcare practices. 

Those in favor of the bill argue it adds more safety regulations to abortions and makes sure women know exactly what they’re getting into before they get an abortion. 

Those against the bill argue it makes it more difficult for women to get an abortion, creating more obstacles they must go through before they can undergo the procedure. 

The bill now heads to the full House, where it will be up for a vote.

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