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April 4, 2013

Pence’s ERASER bill appears dead

Prosser instructor, area representative opposed the legislation

INDIANAPOLIS — Legislation pushed by Gov. Mike Pence to eliminate licensing requirements for more than a dozen occupations is apparently dead, killed by the lack of support from Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly.

The legislation, Senate Bill 520, would have automatically “sunsetted” licensing requirements for a range of occupations, from real estate agents to cosmetologists. 

A watered-down version of Pence’s original proposal passed through the Senate in February. But Senate Bill 520 won’t get a hearing in the House, according to both the bill sponsor and the chairman of the committee to which the bill was assigned.

State Sen. Randy Head, a Logansport Republican who was asked by the Pence administration to carry the bill, said legislators wanted to change the language of the bill to give the General Assembly the authority to determine which, if any, occupational licenses would be eliminated. 

“The governor’s people disagreed with making that change,” said Head.

Pence’s office released a brief statement saying the legislation isn’t dead. But the bill is stopped in its tracks. The language in Senate Bill 520 bill would have to be inserted into another bill in the final week of the legislative session, when lawmakers meet in a conference committee to hash out details of final legislation that would have to be voted on again by both chambers. 

It’s unclear if there’s any support for that. 

Rep. Steve Stemler — a Democrat from Jeffersonville and chairman of the House Select Committee on Government Reduction — said he decided against hearing the bill due to the lack of support from legislators on both sides of the aisle.

Republican state Rep. Mike Karickhoff said the General Assembly rejected similar legislation last year after people whose occupations would be affected protested against eliminating the licensing requirements. 

“There’s been some deregulation take place, but I’d say we’ve hit a plateau, because for two years in a row, the legislature has stalled these efforts,” Karickhoff said.

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