Last-minute compromises dominate final day of Indiana 2014 General Assembly


The final countdown is on as state lawmakers work to wrap up the legislative session by this evening. There's still a lot of unfinished business and that means a lot of last-minute compromises.

Children's issues dominated the morning session of the General Assembly.

Lawmakers have been working on child care regulations for years, but they finally got a bill out of the House and the Senate.

"If the governor signs it, what it'll do is it'll put child to staff ratios into the rules for registered ministries and other registered daycares. Licensed daycares always had those rules. Now we're gonna make sure that registered daycares also have those rules. We've had a lot of issues with children dying or getting hurt in these unregistered ministries as well as unregistered daycare centers. We thought it was important to bring everybody as close to compliance as we do to licensed daycares. The federal government's coming down with rules promulgated, hopefully next year, hopefully we're staying strong and make sure these facilities have some kind of rules and regulations to protect the interests of children," said Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis).

Also, the Senate approved a proposal to permit the cultivation and production of industrial hemp. It's widely seen as a valuable economic development tool for Indiana farmers. That bill is headed to Gov. Mike Pence for his signature.

Gov. Pence signed a new bill into law Thursday for the Military Family Relief Fund. Benefits will be available for post 9/11 servicemen and women who qualify starting July 1st of this year.

WTHR investigative reporter Sandra Chapman's reports prompted lawmakers to look into the issue.

It means the millions of dollars 13 Investigates discovered last July sitting in a bank account from the sale of military license plates will now be open to struggling veterans who need help, no matter when they came home from deployment.

Beginning July 1, 2014, Indiana veterans will no longer have just three years to apply for the money.

The close of the 2014 session was markedly calmer than the opening battle over gay marriage. Opponents of the constitutional ban on gay marriage won a surprise victory last month when lawmakers opted to keep it off the November ballot.