Lawmakers vote on widely discussed bills

3 weeks left in legislative session

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana House and Senate took votes on two widely discussed issues Monday at the Statehouse.

Low-income Hoosiers, along with home-care and hospital workers, rallied outside of the Statehouse to push for the state to expand Medicaid.

The group said a number of people are stuck in a gap when it comes to health care. They either make too little to buy insurance on the exchange under the Affordable Care Act, or make too much to qualify for Medicaid.

The House approved a farm trespassing bill, known to opponents as the "“Ag Gag." It increases criminal penalties for people who enter onto farmland or other agricultural property without permission.

The measure now moves forward to Gov. Mike Pence for his signature.

On the other side of the building, Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, was one of the first lawmakers seated in the chamber.

The Senate president moved Delph’s seat to the Democratic side, as part of sanctions in response to Delph’s criticism of party leadership and rant on Twitter, regarding the handling of HJR-3.

An attempt by Senate Democrats to revive a pilot preschool voucher program Monday afternoon failed.

The body is expected to send the program to an appointed committee for further review later in the year.

"I ask you stand with house Republicans, House Democrats, Governor Pence to establish a pre-K program if only on a pilot basis so we can see on the ground what's working, what's not working," Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend, said.

With three weeks to go in the legislative session, lawmakers face a deadline of next week to get everything to a final vote.

A Senate committee also voted down a proposal that would have barred the state from adopting any environmental rule or standard stricter than federal law.

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