Tanning, abortion regulations head to governor

INDIANAPOLIS - New regulations on tanning beds and for backup physicians to abortion providers were sent Thursday to Gov. Mike Pence for consideration after another day of final negotiations by state lawmakers.

Lawmakers gave their final approval to a ban on anyone under the age of 16 using tanning beds. They also sent Pence a measure requiring the names of backup physicians to abortion providers -- doctors with admitting privileges at area hospitals -- be maintained by the state and accessible by medical professionals, but not the public.

They also approved an expansion of the state's lifeline law, which grants leniency to anyone who seeks emergency medical help for a friend after drinking too much, to protect those who report other health emergencies, such as overdoses or sexual assaults.

Senate and House lawmakers have been spending the last few weeks ironing out differences between their respective versions of each measure.  Legislation must be approved in the same form by both the House and the Senate before heading to the governor for consideration. Pence can veto a bill if he chooses, but gubernatorial vetoes carry little weight in Indiana, which allows lawmakers to override a veto with a simple majority -- the same number of votes needed to pass a bill in the first place.

House and Senate negotiators are also scheduled to meet Monday to take up a transportation funding measure sought by the governor. Senate President Pro Tem David Long said Thursday that Pence likely would get pieces of some of the high-priority legislative items he is seeking, including something possibly closer to the $400 million in road funding the governor originally sought.

Long suggested lawmakers may find a way to deliver a preschool voucher plan for Pence, but he withheld specifics. Pence has struggled to find traction in the Senate for his preschool plan amid budget concerns.

"The key (question) is `How are we going to pay for that?' and we're working through that right now. We're trying to find some consensus on that beyond just the study," he said.

Long also nixed a proposal to have the state finance construction of a new stadium for Indianapolis' new soccer team, the Indy Eleven. The proposal, which would have had the state fund the stadium through the extension of the existing stadium tax, was floated in the final weeks of the session and never fully vetted.

Lawmakers are set to wrap up work on the 2014 session next week.

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