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Holcomb to sign road funding plan and budget this week, undecided on 109 bills

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb provided some clarity Tuesday on his plans for legislation passed during the most recent session, but several bills remain up in the air.

Holcomb said during a news conference Tuesday that he’d signed 161 bills and vetoed one. He told reporters that he was still considering 109 pieces of legislation.

Lawmakers worked until 1 a.m. Saturday as they put the finishing touches on several key bills, including the state’s two-year, $32 billion budget.

Holcomb said he would sign the budget Thursday, along with a road funding plan that would provide sustainable road maintenance for 20 years. The road plan would pump $1.2 billion into Indiana infrastructure each year. The measure adds taxes and fees for Hoosiers, including a 10-cent increase in the fuel tax.

Holcomb said he was “pleased” with the Indiana General Assembly’s decision to expand the state’s pre-kindergarten program, which he believes will pay big dividends down the road for Hoosier students.

Holcomb’s sole veto thus far concerns a bill that would have charged hourly fees to fulfill public records requests that take more than two hours. Holcomb said he believes access to public records is a key part of the work of public servants.

He signed a House Bill 1148, which allows of the use of marijuana-derived oils to treat epilepsy. The measure requires the state health department to keep a registry of people who use the treatment. Holcomb said he didn’t believe the measure would put the state on the road to legalizing marijuana entirely.

Holcomb endorsed the state takeover of schools in Muncie and Gary. Both school systems have struggled financially. Holcomb said the takeover was necessary and hoped to get schools back on track as quickly as possible so the state can relinquish control.

He signed legislation that would allow members of a lawmakers’ staff to carry guns at the Statehouse.

When asked about the cold beer carryout loophole that lawmakers closed during the session, Holcomb said he was still considering the bill.

He told reporters that he had a “bias” toward local control that would guide his decisions on much of the remaining legislation. He has until the end of next week to make his final decisions.

We previewed the governor’s news conference earlier Tuesday: