Each year, the Indiana General Assembly meets in session at the Statehouse in Indianapolis to decide on new laws for Indiana. These range from taxes to voting to school funding. Much of the bills making their way through the state legislature are matters concerning technicalities, but there are still many interesting and unique bills being voted on. Here is our list of the six most entertaining, quirky bills in this year’s legislative session.
SB 97 — Popcorn Grown in Indiana
Authored by Sens. Ronald Grooms, Jean Leising, and Andy Zay
Indiana ranks second in the nation only to Nebraska in popcorn production and according to the USDA, the state produces about a quarter of the country’s popcorn. Senate Bill 97 recognizes Indiana’s popcorn prowess by designating popcorn as the official state snack of Indiana.
SB 130 — Renaming Cities
Authored by Sens. Jack Sandlin and James Tomes
Could Evansville see a name change in the future? It would be easier if this bill passes. The statute would permit a city to change its name as long as it’s not included in the Indiana Constitution. To change the name of a city in the state, a petitioner would need to file with the county board of registration and acquire a number of signatures equal to two percent of the votes cast in the last election for Secretary of State in the city. From there the county election board would place the question of the name change on the ballot in the next municipal election after passage of the bill.
SB 211 — Driving in the Left Lane
Authored by Sen. Ron Alting
Are you getting impatient with people driving slow in the left lane? This bill looks to fix that problem. SB 211 clarifies that the left lane is reserved only for passing and emergency vehicles. It would also increase the penalty for failing to merge into a nonpassing lane of traffic to a Class A infraction.
SB 223 — Marijuana Legalization
Authored by Sen. Karen Tallian
Sixteen states have fully legalized recreational marijuana. Could Indiana be next? Senate Bill 223 is one of many bills focused on legalizing weed in the state. This particular bill would provide that only a person knowingly possessing more than two ounces of marijuana be charged with marijuana possession (the current law charges any amount of marijuana as possession.) SB 223 would also repeal the offense for possession as a Level 6 felony.
SB 361 — Eyelash Extension Specialists
Authored by Sens. Liz Brown and Michael Young
Probably the oddest bill in this year’s session, Senate Bill 361 requires the state health department to set guidelines ensuring the sanitary operation of facilities where eyelash extensions are applied. It also specifies rules establishing training and certification requirements for eyelash extension specialists.
HB 1409 — Indiana Rye Whiskey
Authored by Rep. Chris May
In an attempt to establish a brand similar to Kentucky Bourbon, House Bill 1409 stiffens the requirements to be labeled an Indiana rye whiskey. The bill would make it a Class B misdemeanor if a person markets, labels, or sells Indiana rye whiskey if the liquor does not meet the requirements.