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Changes to Indiana laws alter long-standing legislative decisions

Despite being a notorious conservative state, Indiana government officials plan to tackle new, more controversial issues in an effort to improve the state’s laws and policies. From cannabis to consumption on Sundays, legislators are pushing for new improvements and propositions to go into effect for the next year.

Indiana legislators are hoping to allow alcohol to be sold on Sunday due to the policy’s lack of popularity nationwide. Social Studies teacher Jim Ingelhart acknowledged how allowing the sale of alcohol on Sunday could help to improve our economy and keep money in the state.

“If all the states around you are selling alcohol on Sundays that are close enough to our borders, money will leave Indiana to go to the other states. Businesses moving here want not just their customers but employees to have the same advantages as other states,” Ingelhart said. “We might be one of the last states to not allow this on Sundays.”

Though alcohol sales are prohibited on Sundays, it can still be sold at local breweries and restaurants.

“Alcohol is tough because it has been around a long time. It is kind of silly because you can go into a restaurant and you can drink in there on a Sunday,” Security Director Milan Damjanovic said.

Since marijuana is now legal in 30 states for medical and/or recreational uses, State Representative Jim Lucas plans to file for the legalization of it this year in Indiana. The selling could boost the market and bring more money into Indiana’s economy, but many officials have spoke against it in light of the opioid crisis.

“We could take advantage of growing it due to high humidity to encourage some industry, but it might not pass,” Ingelhart said.

More money for the state could be beneficial, but ethics and the influence on minors may also be factors to consider in the decision.

“I think drugs and opiates have become very dangerous with our kids. They are going to think it is okay to go that route. Marijuana is a gateway drug and it is going to lead to harder stuff. So when they get the normal high it becomes not strong enough so they go into harder drugs,” Damjanovic said.

From a student perspective, drugs may not seem as bad if marijuana becomes legalized. It would be available at the age of 21, just like alcohol.

“It would no longer be illegal so it isn’t something you could act out with, so it might decrease consumption or using it irresponsibly to a dangerous level,” senior Alex McCall said.

Indiana is one of only five remaining states that lack anti-hate crime laws, legislation plans to address the issue this year. Ingelhart attributed this law to

Indiana’s voting districts and how they are drawn in a way that may illegally support extremes of either party.

“Gerrymandering gets extreme candidates from both parties that are supported, and I think it comes with the Trump era of being politically correct,” Ingelhart said.

Emphasizing the necessity of hate crime laws in Indiana, Ingelhart points out the severity of hate crimes, and he explains the effect that the laws would have on supporting the government’s image.

“I think hate crime laws are necessary to give protection to the LGBTQ minorities and other ethnicities and appropriate so that government and leadership declare that these crimes are illegal. These crimes based on race, religion, gender, and really are Anti-american,” Ingelhart said. “Even though there may be other laws that may cover it, it sends a signal that you are willing to cover and protect your people.”

Although it is not being addressed in state legislature this year, Ingelhart feels that all in Indiana should receive a 3% raise and the sales tax should be lowered.

He feels that Indiana’s current regressive tax hurts the lower and middle classes.

As an educator, Ingelhart feels that the cost of college should be reduced to promote higher education and improve American education as well.

“With education now, I feel that America has really fallen behind in education. I don’t feel that college should be fully free, but I definitely feel that there should be some requirement or more academic awards for those who do well in state schools,” Ingelhart said.

A new bill insists children need proper discipline and help regarding consequences. Damjanovic recognizes the importance of the youth and the need for social workers to be more involved in schools to assist students dealing with their troubles.

“I think they can utilize more resources through social work to help them see why they strayed down the wrong way. I think it would make our cooperation stronger to give them that extra help needed,” Damjanovic said.

With the controversy beginning at Crown Point High School’s graduation last year, State Rep. Mike Aylesworth pushed to pass a bill that would allow students that are going into the military to wear their uniform instead of the traditional cap and gown across the whole state.

“The biggest thing is that everyone looks uniform, that you all look the same. The student was never denied to walk or graduate, he could have worn his cap and gown over his uniform. That was his decision,” Damjanovic said.

Damjanovic voiced that it is a school matter. Also, there should be a separation between school administration and state officials.

A majority of the bills legislation is trying to pass this year deal with money, that could ultimately help the economy. Damjanovic voiced that the citizens are those will be affected by new bills, and everyone should be kept in mind and protected.

“We have to get away from the money mindset,” Damjanovic said.

Ari Setlak
Ari Setlak is a Sophomore and is entering her second year of journalism, and her first year on Inklings. She enjoys opinion and current news writing. Ari also loves music, she has been playing the clarinet for six years. She is in marching band, Pep band, and Key club. Ari plans to attend college, and study law.

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