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Third House: From guns in schools to drug testing
, Courier Staff Writer
Monday, April 22, 2013 11:00 AM
Three state legislators updated area residents on work completed during the 2013 General Assembly, specifically addressing what to expect during this, the final week of session, and issues from armed personnel in schools to drug testing of people receiving government assistance.
State Reps. Terry Goodin and Jim Lucas and state Sen. Jim Smith met with about 25 area residents during a Third House session at Ivy Tech Community College Southeast on Saturday. The event was sponsored by the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce.
The state legislators began the 90-minute event by updating the audience about work that remains to be completed in what all three expect to be the last week of the legislative session.
Smith, R-Charlestown, said most bills have been transferred to conference committees where they will be discussed by both the House and Senate for changes and amendments.
"These bills, once they go to conference committee, change quite a bit," Smith said.
Several of these bills may grow to add other bills that might not have passed through before, he said.
Goodin, D-Austin, said several hundred bills passed both the House and the Senate, but not all of the bills will be passed by both chambers by the end of the session.
"This is where things get slipped into bills," he said.
Goodin said the state's budget will be one the last pieces of legislation passed at the end of the session.
Lucas, R-Seymour, discussed a bill concerning about $10 million in funding that would allow schools to have someone go through training to carry a weapon during school hours.
"There's been so much misunderstanding about that (bill)," he said.
The bill allowed for proper training for the person who would be carrying a loaded weapon, Lucas said, which is more than is required to apply for a gun permit in the state.
Having someone at the school who is armed could deter a gunman from opening fire, he said. Lucas noted that one armed guard was on duty at Columbine High School during the school shooting where 13 people were killed. No armed guards were at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 people were killed.
The legislation will be sent to a summer study committee where legislators can take a detailed look at the bill and discuss the issue in-depth before presenting the information during the next session.
"I still believe with every cell in my body that's the right way to go," Lucas said about armed personnel.
Goodin said that school employees are already allowed to bring guns into schools, as long as they hold an Indiana concealed gun permit and have permission from the schools.
Resident John Hutchinson said he agreed the bill needs more in-depth study, and a move to a summer study session was needed.
As a former school administrator, he said he agreed when the board decided to lock down buildings and add cameras to the entrances.
"I realize it's not going to keep everybody out, but it restricted (entrance)," Huchinson said.
Lucas agreed security systems were a step in the right direction, but not a major deterrent anymore.
"We already see (security systems) don't stop active shooters," Lucas said.
The shooter involved in the Colorado movie theater massacre drove from one theater to another, Lucas said, before finding one marked as a gun-free zone. update on a bill that requires drug testing for recipients of public assistance during the Third House event. The legislation passed both the House and Senate during the 2013 session already.
"That was a vicious, vicious battle," he said of the bill.
Resident Dave Smith asked why all state employees who receive state funds as a paycheck couldn't be tested whereas residents receiving temporary assistance under the bill will be randomly tested.
Several others thought along the same line, Goodin said. Some opponents of the bill asked how drug testing one group on public assistance would be fair. An amendment requiring other state employees and officials to be tested wasn't included because the additional language could have kept the bill from passing.
Smith noted the bill won't stop people from receiving assistance after just one drug test.
"It's a very long process to remove someone from government assistance," he said.
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