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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

politics

Gov. Holcomb signs key bills into law

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The legislative session ended almost two weeks ago, but not all the passed bills are officially law yet. They must first go through Gov. Eric Holcomb, who officially signs bills into law. Here are a few important bills that he’s signed so far:

Dreamers

Holcomb signed a bill last Wednesday that would allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients to pursue and receive professional licenses.

The amended House bill allows young people who were brought to the United States as children by their parents to receive professional licenses. 

The measure comes after last fall when the Professional Licensing Agency started screening applicants who are not U.S. citizens or qualified immigrants who receive state benefits — including DACA recipients. 

The agency claimed the decision was legal after a 2011 immigration law that requires agencies to verify a person’s citizenship before they can receive state benefits. 

After the agency started doing this, Holcomb said he wasn’t surprised with how the agency acted.

“I know PLA followed the letter of the law, and they did the exact right thing,” Holcomb said. 

He added that lawmakers were doing everything they could to fix it.

Workforce development

Holcomb signed two bills regarding workforce development in hopes that they will help solve Indiana’s worker shortage.

The bills were high priorities for the governor and Republican lawmakers. The new laws will establish a board to oversee how workforce development funds are spent and will make changes to certain workforce development programs and eligibility requirements. 

Holcomb’s plan will require an almost $50 million federal waiver from the Department of Labor. 

Holcomb announced in his 2018 agenda and in his State of the State address that his main focus will be workforce development. He said in his State of the State address that he worries jobs in Indiana can’t be filled because there aren’t enough skilled people to fill them.

“This is the defining issue of the decade, and we don’t have a day to waste,” Holcomb said.

Abortions:

Holcomb signed a bill Sunday that would require doctors to report abortion complications to the state and abortion clinics to receive annual inspections.

Senate Bill 340 also legalizes the use of “baby boxes” in fire departments. The newborn safety devices, which would allow a parent to give up a baby anonymously, were implemented in hospitals last year. This law will expand the use of them to fire stations.  The baby boxes measure was originally its own bill but was added into the abortion clinics bill after it died in committee.

Some opponents of the bill say it puts too many restrictions on abortion access, while supporters say it is simply updating Indiana’s law to meet current healthcare standards.

CBD oil

Holcomb signed Senate Bill 52 last Wednesday, officially legalizing CBD oil in Indiana. The bill allows anyone to legally purchase, sell and possess CBD oil containing no more than 0.3 percent of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The bill comes a year after a bill last session caused confusion over whether residents could legally purchase and sell CBD oil. The bill legalized the use of CBD oil for people with epilepsy, since CBD oil is known to help with certain seizure disorders. 

The goal of Senate Bill 52 is to clear up that confusion. 

"My goal with this bill is to clear up the confusion about CBD oil and make it available to all people in discomfort," Rep. Bill Friend, R-Macy, one of the bill's author, said at a Feb. 28 committee meeting.

Still, some manufacturers worry about the final version of the bill, and criticize certain labeling and marketing requirements. The bill requires CBD products to be labeled with a QR code that shows where the product comes from and what's in it.

Some companies worry it isn’t feasible for them to make specific labels just to sell in Indiana.

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