Chesterton Tribune



State Senator Tallian and Representative Pelath tell legislative agendas

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Two of Duneland’s state legislators recently spoke to the Chesterton Tribune about their goals for Indiana’s 2018 legislative session.

Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, authored and filed 10 bills for the 2018 session. One was a bill to raise Indiana’s minimum wage--a bill she files every year. Tallian also filed bills which would extend voting hours to 7 p.m. and allow small municipalities to mail-in votes rather than setting up polling places. Tallian said the bill would have applied to towns as large as Chesterton, and to smaller communities in Duneland like Beverly Shores, Ogden Dunes, and Dune Acres. That bill didn’t get a hearing.

One of Tallian’s bills that did get a hearing, SB 178, would require all sand dredged out of Lake Michigan to be returned to beaches to combat erosion, though it makes an exception if the sand poses an environmental concern. SB 178 was heard by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources last week--shortly after an observation deck collapsed at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk site--and will be heard by the full Senate soon. Tallian described the erosion on Lake Michigan’s shoreline as a state of emergency.

Meanwhile, many have been waiting to see how the General Assembly handles the medical use of cannabidiol, known as CBD oil. Tallian has been hoping for better definitions of CBD oil, which is derived from marijuana. “I’ve brought it up the last two years,” she said. Rep. William Friend, R-Macy, authored such a bill defining CBD and legalizing it: HB 1214. Tallian will get to review and vote on it soon, as it passed the House unanimously and advanced to the Senate.

Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City

Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City is serving his final term. The last bill he submitted, HB 1169, is his final attempt as a legislator to advocate for public schools’ providing free textbooks. An update of a bill which he first filed in 1998, HB 1169 would require all curricular materials to be provided at no cost to students and establishes a fund for the state to reimburse schools for the added cost.

Pelath said he views the cost of materials as a tax on education: “We give tax breaks to all kinds of people, including those who did not want them and did not ask for them. The practice of taxing parents for the words filling their children's minds must end.”

Pelath also authored HB 1373, a bill to extend voting hours to 8 p.m. and allow voters who meet certain requirements to register to vote at the polls. It would also require Indiana to implement a voting-by-mail system by 2022. “Indiana is a state with chronically low voter participation, and that must change for the good of our democracy. Voting hours should be longer, and barriers to voting must be eliminated,” he said.

In addition, Pelath wants big money out of politics and said that practices which allow politicians to cherry-pick their voting base, such as some redistricting efforts, must come to an end, a sentiment echoed by Sen. Tallian.

Pelath told the Tribune that he’s enjoyed his service to the state and the 9th District. “As I return to private life, I want to express my deep gratitude for the privilege of serving Northwest Indiana the past twenty years.”

Both Rep. Pelath and Sen. Tallian have kept lakeshore communities in mind this session. In addition to Tallian’s dredged sand bill, Pelath authored HB 1372, which would make the purposeful damage and non-emergency use of marine safety equipment a Level 6 felony.

Soliday and Moseley

Rep. Edmond Soliday, R-Valparaiso, could not be reached for comment.

Soliday has authored six transportation bills this session.

Rep. Charles Moseley, D-Portage, did not return a request for comment.

Moseley has authored two bills.



Posted 2/2/2018




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