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Indiana lawmakers sprint toward the legislative finish line

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With less than two weeks until the end of this year’s Indiana legislative session, the race is on to get bills to the governor’s desk.

Indiana’s massive gaming bill was considered by House lawmakers on Monday afternoon. 

If approved, the bill would legalize sports betting statewide, meaning you’d be able to bet on your favorite sports team.

But some lawmakers asked, at what cost?

“Hammond, Indiana, followed all the rules,” State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, a Democrat from Munster, said Monday. “Hammond, Indiana, did the right thing and now Hammond’s going to suffer because the rules have been changed by this body, and I would ask you to vote no.” 

But as written right now, you would not be able to place a bet at home on the computer, or on your phone.

“When we take this back over to the Senate, I certainly think we need to take a look at how the mobile language can get back into the bill and make sports wagering a very worthwhile endeavor for this bill and for the state,” said State Rep. Alan Morrison, a Republican from Brazil.

House lawmakers passed the bill Monday afternoon.

Also Monday, Senate lawmakers filed a motion to concur on an animal cruelty bill that would increase the penalties for hurting or killing an animal.

“I’m hopeful that the governor will sign it. It’s a great victory for animal lovers. But also for all Hoosiers because animal abusers are human abusers. This bill gives the proper tools to our prosecutors,” said State Rep. Ryan Hatfield, a Democrat from Evansville.

And a conference committee on Monday heard a bill that would grant $3 million in seed money to create three all-inclusive addiction recovery centers statewide: one each in northern, southern and central Indiana.

“It being alcohol, marijuana, opioids, meth, any sort of addiction, tobacco, so, not only would we be helping people, but we’d be learning from people,” said State Sen. Jim Merritt, a Republican from  Indianapolis.

Lawmakers also unanimously passed a DCS bill aimed squarely at helping Indiana’s children.