INDIANAPOLIS—On Thursday, Senate Bill 434 passed out of the Legislature for the final time with a vote of 49-1.

State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) released the following remarks:

“I’m incredibly grateful for the overwhelming bipartisan support SB 434 has received to now be on its way to the governor’s desk. This moment is the culmination of two years of collective effort, collaboration and many conversations to fine-tune the language of this bill to ensure optimal benefits for Gary and Lake County. Thank you to Senator Mishler, Representative Houston, Representative Slager, LSA, and the many others that contributed to the creation and success of SB 434.

“I also want to give a heartfelt thank you to the members of my community. Their continued engagement and advocacy to make our city better has been unwavering, and it’s been an honor to push for this legislation on their behalf. With the passage of SB 434, the Gary community can expect to see a transformation in our city. They can expect to see safer and cleaner communities, more efficient transportation, continuing economic growth and more opportunities. They can also expect to see more self-sufficiency and fiscal stability as we embrace the opportunities SB 434 will make possible. The incoming economic growth will place us in a position to maintain our own growth and pursue quality-of-life improvements.

“The intelligent, hard-working and passionate people of Gary deserve this. They deserve more support, they deserve opportunities in our community, and they deserve transformative change now. I’m very happy that SB 434 is primed to deliver that for the people of my city.”

Senator Melton’s economic development bill leverages new gaming revenue coming online in FY 2026 with local matching dollars to do the following:

  • Establishes the Lake County Convention and Economic Development Fund to be used for the creation of a convention center in Lake County
  • Creates the Blighted Property Demolition Fund
  • Gary currently has 6,000 abandoned homes and 300 abandoned commercial properties
  • Provides funding to revitalize the Gary Metro Station to complement the Double Tracking project

On May 4, the bill was officially signed into law by the Governor.