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What are your state legislators doing on your behalf? The Indiana House Republicans host a podcast each week to answer this  question and talk about what’s happening in your state government. The podcast features one-on-one interviews with lawmakers who highlight new laws, events and other issues impacting Hoosiers.

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Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration

After a year of Bicentennial celebrations, the big day is here!

Celebrate the finale of Indiana’s Bicentennial year at “Ignite the Future.” This free, family event will take place on Statehood Day, Dec. 11, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds inside the Indiana Farmers Coliseum from 10 a.m. to noon. The two-hour program will include a variety of speakers from diverse faith backgrounds as well as music, dance and more.

The Indiana Historical Society is also hosting a 200th birthday bash on Statehood Day from noon to 4:30 p.m. There will be daylong activities, crafts, two special productions, a balloon drop and much more. The event is free for IHS members or included with admission to the Indiana Experience exhibit.

Bicentennial Signature Projects throughout 2016 included the Bicentennial Plaza, which is located west of the Statehouse and includes two public art pieces interpreting the Indiana Torch and an interactive time capsule.

The Bicentennial Torch Relay was an exciting event where peer nominated torchbearers passed on the torch in distinct ways that represent Indiana’s heritage. The torch was relayed through all 92 counties within a five-week period.

To learn more about the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration and Statehood Day events, visit ww.Indiana2016.org.

 

This past year, Indiana experienced a more than 18 percent increase in the number of new teacher license recipients. This trend could continue as students begin applying for the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship.

This scholarship is designed to attract Indiana’s best and brightest to enter the teaching profession. Recipients will receive up to $7,500 per year of college, but they must commit to teaching in Indiana for five years after earning their degrees.

To qualify, students must either graduate in the top 20 percent of their class or earn a score in the top 20th percentile on the SAT or ACT. While attending college, students must earn a 3.0 cumulative GPA and complete at least 30 credit hours per year to continue earning the scholarship.

This scholarship is available to up to 200 Hoosiers each year.

Those interested in applying need to be nominated by a teacher and submit the nomination form to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The Commission is accepting applications now, so please get your materials ready in order to meet the Dec. 31 deadline.

To all of our educators, thank you for your commitment to our students. For those just beginning their teaching careers, we look forward to seeing you grow as a professional while contributing to the success of our future generations.

Habitat for Humanity Partnership

Today is the Indiana General Assembly’s Organization Day.

Organization Day occurs annually in November. State lawmakers use the day to gather together, meet new members and prepare for the upcoming legislative session. Following the general election earlier this month, all re-elected members and member-elects were also sworn into office. The day also marks the first official meeting of the new 120th Indiana General Assembly for the next two years.

Some top priorities of the upcoming legislative session include crafting a balanced state budget, funding long-term infrastructure needs and continuing to improve education for Hoosier students.

House and Senate lawmakers also announced they will team up to support Habitat for Humanity of Indiana to raise awareness about the need for affordable housing in Indiana. In March, lawmakers will trade their pens for hammers on the south lawn of the Statehouse to build wall panels, which will be transported to a home site for a Hoosier family in need. Legislators and staff already launched a new and used tool drive, and donations will help build homes across Indiana.

To learn more about our partnership with Habitat for Humanity, visit our website.

State lawmakers were energized today and ready to tackle a lot of important issues on behalf of Indiana. Be sure to contact your state representative to give input on upcoming legislation or issues.

 

New scholarship for future teachers

If you are considering earning a degree in education, we have great news for you!

Thanks to efforts led by House Speaker Brian Bosma, a new law created a unique scholarship program, offering up to $7,500 per year of college for students who commit to teaching in Indiana for five years after earning their degrees.

Both incoming and current college students studying education can apply for the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.

The scholarship is available to 200 students across the state who either graduate in the top 20 percent of their class or earn a score in the top 20th percentile on the SAT or ACT. Students must earn a 3.0 cumulative GPA and complete at least 30 credit hours per year to continue earning the scholarship in college.

Students interested in applying need to be nominated by a teacher and submit the nomination form to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Students are encouraged to complete the nomination form before the application opens.

This scholarship encourages our best and brightest to enter the teaching profession, further improving the overall quality of education in our state.

For more information visit www.LearnMoreIndiana.org/NextTeacher.

Every day, 129 Americans die of a drug overdose, with 61 percent of those deaths relating to pharmaceutical opioids or heroin. Indiana is not immune to this spreading epidemic. In fact, the number of heroin overdoses in the state increased 2.7 times from 2011 to 2014.

This week is Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week, drawing attention to the dangerous cycle of opioid misuse and heroin abuse across the country.

State lawmakers are working to address the growing drug problem in Indiana.

A new law is preventing fatal drug overdoses by permitting pharmacies to sell overdose intervention drugs, like Narcan, over-the-counter without a prescription. Narcan is a safe, non-addictive medication that reverses the effects of drug overdoses. Making medicine like Narcan readily available can save lives in the event of an overdose of heroin or prescription pain medicine. Indiana also provides Narcan training for first responders and the general population.

Another new law requires Medicaid coverage for inpatient detoxification for the treatment of opioid or alcohol dependence. This law is a product of the Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force and will provide an evidence-based comprehensive approach to opioid treatment through clinical practice guidelines.

Many overdoses are a result of prescription drug abuse. To help prevent prescription drug abuse, find a Drug Take-Back Location near you.

During this week and moving forward, we encourage you to start conversations with your family and friends about the devastating effects of opioid and heroin abuse. If you or someone you know is seeking treatment, please visit BitterPill.IN.gov.

 

“Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”

This was the question asked to American households across the nation, to which one in six answered “yes.” “How Hungry is America?,” a study conducted by the Food Research & Action Center, summarizes data about food hardship in the U.S.

Despite Indiana’s growing economy, 15.5 percent of households reported they struggled to afford enough food in 2015. Thankfully, communities and businesses across the state have come together to help hungry Hoosiers, especially through September, which is Hunger Action Month.

The Indiana Farms to Food Banks Program provides fresh, healthy produce to Hoosiers in need while creating a market for surplus or blemished produce. Through the program, participating food banks can buy perfectly edible produce below wholesale prices. Farmers and producers interested in getting involved should visit the Feeding Indiana’s Hungry website.

Kroger launched a new campaign that aims to reduce flu-related hospitalizations while feeding others. Now through April 1, 2017, Kroger will donate one meal through the Feeding America network of food banks for every flu shot administered at all Kroger pharmacies or The Little Clinic locations.

Midas is trying to “Drive Out Hunger” during September by donating one meal to Feeding America for every share of their YouTube video on social media and for every Instagram photo using #MakeThisMealReal. Another way to get involved on social media is by participating in Feeding America’s #Spoontember to help get people talking about Hunger Action Month.

Visit Feeding America’s website for other promotions to help end hunger.

Don’t forget – you can volunteer your time or donate supplies to your local food bank year-round. Find your closest food bank here.

Remembering 9/11

Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Nearly 3,000 lives were taken in the morning hours of 9/11, including nine Hoosiers who were working in the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon.

Just 16 hours after the collapse of the Twin Towers, 277 Hoosiers stepped foot onto Ground Zero to help in recovery efforts. Doctors, police officers, firefighters, mental health counselors and many more from Indiana bravely helped their fellow Americans.

Let’s remember the role all the brave first responders played on Sept. 11, 2001, and continue honoring those who dedicate themselves to protecting us.

As a way to pay tribute to all the victims of the attacks, consider donating blood during National Blood Donation Week. Click here to learn how to save a life.

Please take a moment to reflect on what was lost that September morning 15 years ago.

We will never forget the courage shown on 9/11 and how our country stood up against the face of evil.

May God continue to bless America.

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Back to school!

With the start of the new school year, there are steps we can take to keep Hoosier students safe.

State law requires motorists to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off children. Watch for school buses with their stop arms extended and red lights flashing, which means drivers from all directions must stop. This law applies to all roadways, unless it’s divided by a physical barrier.

Also, look out for increased pedestrian traffic and posted speed limits in school zones. If you have a child who rides the bus, click here for tips to help keep them safe.

College students need to be aware of Indiana’s Lifeline Law, which works to save lives. The law provides immunity from underage drinking, public intoxication, minor in possession and other similar crimes for minors seeking help for themselves or for others. The main goal of this law is to encourage all Hoosiers to call the police if they or someone they are with is in serious danger, regardless of the circumstances. Although minors should not consume alcohol until the legal age of 21, no one’s life should be risked for fear of being penalized for underage drinking.

This immunity also applies to those who use the new text to 911 option. Calling 911 is always preferred, but the new capability allows dispatchers to more easily follow up on 911 hang-ups. Text to 911 services reached all counties in Indiana last month.

Best wishes to our students, parents and educators for another safe and fun school year!

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