Lawmakers have plenty of work left at Statehouse

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The Senate and House have now passed different versions of the governor's proposal to reduce property taxes on business.

Now, both houses will work on working out their differences. Businesses would benefit from the proposal, possibly saving hundreds of millions of dollars if counties choose to exempt new equipment and machinery from property taxes.

The bill's author, Rep. Eric Turner (R-Indianapolis), addressed fellow lawmakers.

"This is for counties that want new jobs and want to have a competitive advantage with our neighboring states," Turner said.

But opponents, mostly Democrats, claim cities and schools, struggling to recover the lost tax revenue, will pass the buck to homeowners, raise taxes, and cut services.

"There will be absolutely, for sure, job losses," promised Rep. Ed Delaney (D-Indianapolis).

The bills still piled on lawmakers' desks awaiting votes cover a wide variety of issues.

House Bill 1384 would prevent police from snooping into cell phones without a search warrant or evidence of crime. House Bill 1042 allows communities to put cameras on school buses to identify drivers ignoring stop arms at railroad crossings, then fine them as much as $1,000.

Student athletes get additional protection from Senate Bill 222. Players suffering a head injury or possible concussion would be benched for at least 24 hours.

Alcohol sales and consumption would be allowed at the Indiana State fair if Senate Bill 339 passes. Senate Bill 349 targets annoying telephone solicitors, adding to existing restrictions intending to give families more privacy and fewer interruptions.

The House has so many bills to vote on, Speaker Brian Bosma told lawmakers to plan on a late night and a rare Friday session, but word Thursday evening is the House got their work done.