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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Proposed IN law would bar cities from banning pet-store puppy sales

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024   

Some Hoosiers want Indiana lawmakers to rethink proposed legislation that would usurp existing local laws that prohibit retailers from selling puppies. Legislators listened to emotional testimony during a 3.5 hour hearing on the proposed law, which was revived from last year's session.

Dr. Scott Robinson, a physician and attorney who also founded a low-cost spay and neuter center in Indianapolis, told the Senate Agriculture Committee there's no mystery about House Bill 1412. Pet stores support the legislation because they're trying to keep themselves from being forced out of business.

"I've been involved in animal welfare for a long time, and I've seen over the years many wolves in sheep's clothing and that's what this is about," Robinson argued. "There's plenty of regulations that can be made to monitor puppy mills, but this is designed to usurp local control of communities and protect pet stores."

Robinson said the issue is not a Republican or Democrat problem -- regardless of party affiliation, people care about their animals. If passed, the bill will overturn bans on retail puppy sales in 21 Indiana communities. Proponents say the law would allow pet stores the option to sell puppies as long as the animals are from ethically sourced suppliers.

Lori Wilson, CEO of Uncle Bill's Pet Centers, who operates six stores throughout Indiana, supports the proposed legislation.

"We are very transparent. We're open door," she intoned. "Being USDA, you have to be open door, so we are very picky. I actually go to many of the kennels to make sure that they are exactly what we want them to be and need them to be, to be able to source humanely and ethically raised puppies."

Opponents say the bill lacks funding to support the agencies tasked with enforcing laws. This is not a budget year for Indiana lawmakers, so any funding to support the proposed mandate would not come before 2025.


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