Bills, bills, bills

January 12, 2009
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As the 2009 General Assembly session heats up, no doubt there will be bills that cause us to ask, “What were they thinking?” Some seem redundant; others just plain strange. The Senate has until Jan. 15 to file bills; all House of Representative bills have to be filed by the fourth meeting day in January, according to the legislative calendar.

As more bills are added and statuses change, First Impressions seems like a good place to take a look at some of the bills and call attention to what our lawmakers feel is important for Hoosiers.

An issue that I know is pressing on everyone’s mind in this economy is updating our laws on hypnosis. Senate Bill 248  looks to replace the mention of “hypnotism” with “hypnosis” under Indiana Code Section 25-20.5-1. You all will be happy to know that if the bill passes, a hypnotist would be able to perform hypnosis in a group setting for: self-hypnosis, sports enhancement, improvement in test-taking, tobacco cessation, and weight loss.

As I read this bill, it means 1) that doing the above in a group setting right now is considered against the law, and 2) more people than I thought would like to use hypnosis to improve their lives.

Bills like these – and my favorite from last year which attempted to require public access to restrooms in all businesses – make me wonder what prompts the bill’s author or authors to write them. Senate Bill 248 is authored by Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville. Did Sen. Lawson use hypnosis and find it helpful? As a result of that, does she now think it should be expanded to a group setting for the reasons above? Or did a constituent or organization approach her about the matter? I wonder how many of these bills are inspired by a legislator’s own personal experience and how many are the result of lobbying.
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