New laws in Indiana impact everyone
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - New laws in Indiana that went into being Sunday are as different as two lawmakers that represent Delaware County, Muncie and Yorktown.
Rep. Jack Lutz, R-Anderson, is now among the most senior in the Indiana House, serving more than two decades and also chairman of the power House Energy and Public Utility Committee.. Rep. Mike White, D-Muncie, is the newest House member, succeeding now Mayor Dennis Tyler and will likely be replaced by former senator Sue Errington, who won the Democratic primary for the predominately Democratic House seat.
The big tickets like Right to Work and a statewide smoking ban had Lutz and White on opposite sides. Lutz stood with the Republican majority and state chamber of commerce supporting Right to Work while White stood with labor unions opposing it. White also supported the smoking ban, despite being a smoke, while Lutz, also a smoker, opposed it. Delaware County already has a stronger ban that trumps state law.
Some of the other 160 laws that go into effect just before the country celebrates Independence Day and championed by Republicans are an end to the dreaded inheritance tax that will be phased out by 2022. There's any immediate boost of a $250,000 exemption, up from $100,000 for every child and generation after that.
Lutz supported the end of the inheritance tax and voters will be hearing lots about his record against taxes in his campaign challenged by Daleville teacher Melanie Wright, a Democrat upset with Republicans reducing money for public education. White voted against the inheritance tax eliminating, pointing out how it would cost millions in state revenue.
The new House members did join like other partisans supporting that Christmas tree of a bill that gave an income tax credit of about $70 next year besides more money for victims of the State Fair disaster and full-day kindergarten.
A new law that went under the radar of lame stream media, as Hollywood calls it, is the power of homeowners to use deadly force against public servants who commit unlawful acts or intend to hurt you. That has law enforcement concerned after Republican lawmakers decided on the side of property owners and not police.
Lutz recently said that taxpayers would benefit from the latest session in the form of tax breaks and elimination of the inheritance. White thought voters got shortchanged when the Republican controlled Legislature did nothing to help small businesses create jobs and do more to ensure full-day kindergarten and promote public education.
"That is what the voters wants," said White.