INDIANAPOLIS—Legislation covering specialized driving privileges, indigent criminal defendants and colorectal cancer screenings advanced in the Indiana General Assembly Wednesday as lawmakers begin the second half of the session:

Senate Bill 39: Allows specialized driving privileges.

What it does: SB 39 would allow the court to approve specialized driving privileges for those whose driver’s license has been suspended.

What happened: SB 39 easily passed the Courts and Criminal Code Committee by a 10-0 vote. An amendment from Rep. John Young, R-Franklin, says the court could not send a notice to the BMV until after the defendant’s initial hearing was held, and then the court would advise the person of their right to seek specialized driving privileges. Michael Moore from Indiana Public Defender Council testified in support of SB 39.

What’s next: The bill now advances to the full House for action.

Senate Bill 302: Defines procedure for criminal courts to determine if a defendant able to pay for a lawyer for his or her defense.

What it does: SB 302 would add standardization across the state to determine if a defendant would be able to pay for a public defender. A person’s ability to pay would be determined by assets and income among other factors. It would also allow the court to consider an individual’s ability to pay if they are eligibility for aid from any need based federal program.

What happened: SB 302 easily passed the Courts and Criminal Code Committee by a 10-0 vote with little debate or discussion.

What’s next: The bill now advances to the House.

House Bill 1080: Changes the age for insurance policies to cover colorectal screenings from 50 to 45.

What it does: HB 1080 amends current law mandating coverage for colorectal cancer testing under accident and sickness insurance policies, health maintenance organization contracts and state employee health plans. The minimum age that coverage is required was lowered from age 50 to 45.

What happened: HB 1080 passed the Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee Wednesday with a 7-1 vote. Sen. Mike Gaskill, R-Pendleton, was the lone no vote.

What’s next: The bill now advances to the full Senate for action.

Lacey Watt is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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