2018 Indiana General Assembly begins Wednesday

By Wednesday afternoon, the Statehouse halls will be bursting with people.

State Senator John Ruckelshaus, a Republican from District 30 said "It's like all the kids coming back to school. Everybody will come back, sharpen their pencils. This is an exciting day!"

Indiana's 150 state legislators will come together for the 120th General Assembly.

On the Senate side, the very first bill on the list would allow Sunday alcohol sales from 12 p.m to 8 p.m. at liquor, grocery, convenience and drug stores.

Republican State Senator John Ruckelshaus said another big issue is the Opioid Crisis.

Ruckelshaus explained "We're gonna look at that from two angles. One is for the treatment of those that have become addicted. We want to try to get those people on the straight and narrow. Then, really go after the dealers from a punishment standpoint, really crack down on the source of that issue."

Across the aisle, Democratic State Senator Tim Lanane, from Anderson, leads the Democratic Caucus. This will be his 20th session.

Lanane explained "It is also an opportunity for caucuses to talk about their agendas a little bit more. What they hope will be accomplished."

What does he hope gets accomplished? Redistricting reform, enacting a hate crime law, and examining the inner working of Indiana's Department of Child Services. Former director, Mary Beth Bonaventura resigned last month in a scathing letter to the Governor.

Lanane said "I'm going to call for us to be holding hearings on the matter, and to be apprised by the Administration as to what is the current status of protecting children in Indiana. What's the plan going forward? What legislative fixes may be in order?"

In the Senate, there are more than 100 bills listed this session. Over on the House side, things are a little different. That's because the Speaker of the House hasn't signed off on the list yet.

Lawmakers still have time to submit more bills. In late November, here's how House Speaker, Republican Representative, Brian Bosma, set the tone for this session

"We have an opioid crisis we're dealing with, we have education initiatives that need attention and, frankly, we have some more downsizing of government that can be done," Bosma previously explained.

This is a short session at only about 10 and a half weeks.

Lawmakers we spoke today tell me everything has to be finished by Wednesday March 14.

That's the last day both houses can adjourn.

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the Tri-State, follow Eyewitness News on Facebook and Twitter.

(This story was originally published on January 2, 2018)


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