A new two-year, $30 billion budget plan increases school spending by 2 percent the first year and 1 percent the second year for a total of about $330 million. State and local roads funding increases by $400 million, with another $400 million for major highway expansions over the biennium.
Budget plan cuts the state's personal income tax rate by 5 percent in two steps — from the current 3.4 percent tax rate to 3.3 percent in 2015, then to 3.23 percent in 2017. Gov. Mike Pence had sought a 10 percent cut. Plan also repeals the state inheritance tax retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year; legislators last year had approved a 10-year phase out of that tax.
Bill approved revamping criminal sentencing laws starting in July 2014, requires those convicted of the most serious crimes to spend more time in prison and send more low-level felony offenders to work release and other local programs.
The state will offer schools up to $50,000 a year in grants to help hire police officers and buy safety equipment to better secure their buildings. Lawmakers dropped a proposal that would've required all public schools to have an armed employee, possibly a teacher or principal, on hand during school hours.
Approved tightening regulations on distribution of the abortion pill and on the clinics that provide only drug-induced abortions, which the bill's opponents say will affect only a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette.
ONLINE SALES TAX
The Senate turned aside a House-approved plan to require Amazon.com and other online-only retailers to start collecting Indiana's 7 percent sales tax this summer. Amazon is to start collecting that tax in January, but other online retailers don't face any requirement.
House and Senate leaders delayed until next year votes on a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, saying they wanted to wait until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on similar bans in other states.
SUNDAY ALCOHOL SALES
A bill that would have lifted Indiana's ban on Sunday retail alcohol sales died when a House committee chairman didn't hold a vote on it. Bills seeking to end the ban have been filed the past several years, but it received a committee hearing for the first time this session.