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General Assembly

Fishing, hunting shields advance

Await House passage, ballot vote

– The Indiana Senate voted 38-10 Monday to approve constitutional protections for hunting, fishing and farming.

Just two more votes are required – a House committee and full House chamber – before it would go to Hoosiers for final approval in the 2014 fall election.

The proposed constitutional amendment already passed the 2011 General Assembly.

“This is not a new idea,” said Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, who said 17 states have hunting and fishing constitutional protections.

Only one state has added farming rights to its constitution – North Dakota.

Indiana’s resolution affects all three, saying the rights are subject to laws passed by the state legislature.

Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, expressed confusion over the need for the amendment.

“We’ve hunted and fished since the beginning of time,” he said.

Steele contends the Humane Society of the United States is targeting sport hunting, as well as treatment of farm animals.

All area senators supported the measure.

Senate OKs tighter reins on meth-tied cold meds

The Indiana Senate voted 44-4 Monday to further restrict access to certain cold and allergy medicine in the state’s fight against methamphetamine.

Senate Bill 496 targets ephedrine and pseudoephedrine – primary ingredients in the making of meth.

It does not require a prescription to buy the products but does institute an annual limit on the amount a person can buy. This is on top of a pre-existing monthly limit in state law.

The annual limit is about eight months’ worth of the medicine – or about one pill a day.

Each time a person buys the medicine, it is put into a real-time online system to track the purchases. If a purchase exceeds the limit, a retailer is not allowed to finish the transaction.

The legislation also prohibits gas stations and convenience stores from selling the medicine unless they are hooked into the online system. Currently there is no tracking of the medication at those locations.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

The only local senator to vote against the bill was Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City.