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Big items left on agenda as legislative session nears end

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – State lawmakers begin their last few days of this year’s legislative session Monday. The session wraps up on Wednesday.

The biggest item on the agenda is passing a state budget. Leaders in the House and Senate say they’re trying to find places to cut, because they’re expecting about a $200 million drop in tax revenue over the next two years. However, the leaders said money to schools will not be on the chopping block. At last check, education will be getting about a two-percent bump.

Another big question still out there – will Indiana’s gambling laws change?

The House and Senate have passed different versions of this, but both bills would eventually allow live dealers at the ‘racinos’ in Anderson and Shelbyville. If you’ve been to either, you’ve probably noticed all of the games are digital or slots.

The bill would also allow riverboat casinos to move to land.

If this measure passes, we’ll have to see what the governor does with it. Gov. Mike Pence has said in the past he is against any expansion of gambling in Indiana.

Finally, lawmakers are considering a bill connected, in part, to the HIV outbreak in southern Indiana. Lawmakers will look at whether to approve a needle exchange programs in 23 counties that have a high rate of hepatitis C.

The governor approved an exchange program in Scott County where the HIV outbreak started.

People who support programs like this say it helps stop the spread of disease and viruses. Those against it say it promotes drug use.