Lawmakers Wrap Up 2012 Legislative Session

By Katrina Helmer
By Stephanie Parkinson

March 10, 2012 Updated Mar 11, 2012 at 8:21 AM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) — This year's state legislative session is over. Saturday was the final day in the state's Capitol for lawmakers.

This session there were many controversial bills taken up but Saturday morning was a calmer day in the statehouse. Saturday they passed funding for full day kindergarten, approved $6 million to state fair victims and increased the amount of money the state must put away before issuing tax refunds.

Some of the more controversial moves from this session include making Indiana a right to work state and the state-wide smoking ban.

Even tobacco free groups are having trouble supporting the smoking ban because of the exemptions. That bill awaits Governor Mitch Daniels signature. The right to work law will take effect later this year lets workers opt out of paying union dues.

Other bills passed this session strengthen human trafficking laws and increase penalties for selling synthetic drugs. But the measure GOP lawmakers are most proud of is the one making Indiana a right to work state.

"We're staging the future of the Indiana economy in a way that I think will benefit all Hoosiers, our kids, our grandkids significantly in the years to come, it really is a better environment to do business," said David Long, (R) Senate President Pro Tem.

Democrats point out that right to work states are also doing poorly attracting new jobs, and say right to work is designed to weaken labor unions. One move both parties seemed to agree on this session though, was the smoking ban.




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