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.
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!
We are now accepting applications for our 2017 internships!
The House Republican Internship Program is a unique opportunity to participate in state government at the Indiana Statehouse while gaining hands-on experience. This paid program during the spring semester allows interns to immerse themselves in the legislative process by working directly with state representatives.
The internship is open to college sophomores, juniors and seniors, graduate students, and recent graduates of all majors. Interns receive a bi-weekly compensation of $700 and opportunities to earn college credits. This is a full-time position at the Statehouse in Indianapolis for the length of the legislative session, which runs January through April.
Interns will be placed in one of five departments:
- Legislative: Interns will be paired with a full-time legislative assistant as they work directly with an assigned group of state representatives. Some of the responsibilities include: tracking legislation, working with constituents and researching legislative questions or problems.
- Communications: Interns will be paired with a full-time press secretary as they assist with media relations for an assigned group of state representatives. Some of the responsibilities include: writing press releases, audio and video production, social media, arranging interviews with reporters, photography and covering press conferences.
- Technology: Interns will help provide technical support to the caucus for laptops and tablets, and assist with the livestreaming of official house business online.
- Fiscal Policy: Intern will work with the fiscal staff on issues that directly relate to the state’s finances and biennial budget.
- Policy: Intern will work alongside the policy staff in tracking and analyzing legislation.
The House Republican Internship Program is a great opportunity to make valuable contacts while building your resume. To learn more about internship opportunities and the application process, visit indianahouserepublicans.com/internship.
A new law will help ease the financial challenges faced by many Hoosiers with disabilities.
In 2013, the federal government enacted the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, allowing people with disabilities to set up tax-free savings accounts. The money in these savings accounts may be used to pay for services including medical and dental care, education, employment training, housing and transportation. Under this new law, Indiana established its own ABLE Program.
The ABLE Act provides individuals with disabilities the same types of flexible savings tools that all other Americans have through college savings accounts, health savings accounts and individual retirement accounts. It will allow those with disabilities to plan and save for future qualified expenses, which will benefit both their families and our communities.
Also, those with developmental disabilities will be able to better avoid misunderstandings as a result of another new law.
Hoosiers may request an identification card from the Indiana State Department of Health indicating that they are medically diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or another developmental disability. These cards are not required, but cardholders who choose to use them will likely be able to better communicate to officers or anyone else that they have a disability. These have proven useful in the event that if, for instance, autistic behavior is mistaken for noncompliance or aggression.
House Republicans support opportunities for each Hoosier to have a high quality of life.
Starting July 1, Indiana will be the first state to begin developing an online child abuse registry.
This new law, named after Kirk Coleman, is the result of Kirk’s death while under the care of a babysitter who had been previously charged with child neglect.
In a year from now, possibly sooner, people will be able to access an online registry providing a list of all individuals convicted of child abuse or neglect — similar to sex-offender registries.
Protecting and providing a safe environment for Hoosier children to grow and learn is a priority for House Republicans. The goal of this law is to prevent tragedies like Kirk’s by providing caregivers with a tool to better ensure those caring for children are nonviolent and trustworthy.
In 2016, House Republicans placed special emphasis on enacting policies promoting greater public safety for Hoosiers.
Unfortunately, human trafficking is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world. Three new Indiana laws focus on combating this heinous crime.
House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1199, authored by State Rep. Wendy McNamara, requires an individual found guilty of promoting the trafficking of a minor to register as a sex offender on the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry. The Indiana Department of Correction and police officers across the state monitor the database to track offenders to ensure they are not breaking the law once released.
HEA 1028, authored by State Rep. Randy Truitt, increases penalties for individuals profiting from human trafficking and those who knowingly visit places in violation of trafficking laws. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 305, sponsored by State Reps. Dave Frizzell and Wendy McNamara, allows the Department of Child Services to intervene and serve children who are victims of human trafficking.
Here are highlights of other new laws to keep Hoosiers safe:
- HEA 1105: Protecting children conceived as the result of rape by allowing mothers to request the termination of the rapist’s parental rights.
- SEA 14: Increasing penalties for criminals convicted of child exploitation and pornography crimes.
- HEA 1048: Requiring motorists in minor crashes to safely move vehicles to the side of the road and out of traffic.
- SEA 248: Prohibiting motorists convicted of speeding twice in work zones within a year from driving for 60 days.
- SEA 357: Posting names and records of individuals convicted of child abuse on an online registry maintained by the state court system.
- HEA 1019: Balancing public transparency with the privacy rights of citizens by establishing guidelines for releasing police video recordings.
- HEA 1211: Increasing penalties for criminals who cause property damage while manufacturing meth, and tracking meth-fire incidents to combat the problem.
In the 2016 legislative session, policymakers worked on new laws that will help foster a healthier Indiana. Here are highlights of legislation, effective July 1, promoting the wellbeing of Hoosiers across the state:
- Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 11: Creating a savings program that Hoosiers with disabilities can use for disability-related costs without placing other benefits at risk.
- SEA 165: Protecting the successful Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 for the nearly 370,000 Hoosiers who have enrolled.
- SEA 315: Providing pregnant Hoosiers information about voluntary umbilical cord donation, a medical practice that can help in life-saving treatments.
- House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1263: Implementing a variety of telemedicine practice standards and remote prescribing rules to provide convenience to Hoosiers.
- SEA 186: Encouraging pregnant Hoosiers suffering from drug addiction to get help rather than fear prosecution by keeping drug-screening results private.
- HEA 1012: Increasing the safety of Hoosiers with developmental disabilities by providing bracelets or identification cards to those who request them.
House Republicans remain committed to enacting health-care policies on behalf of Hoosiers.
House Republicans worked diligently in the 2016 session to pass legislation supporting the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our country. Several laws will take effect on July 1 to benefit our Hoosier veterans:
- Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 145: Allowing for the proper burial of deceased veterans who do not have living family members.
- SEA 295: Expanding the Military Family Relief Fund, which provides grants to military families in need, to all Hoosier veterans who served on active duty.
- House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1089: Determining the duties, standards and practices of veteran district service officers who help address individual service-related needs throughout the state.
- HEA 1313: Increasing access to programs benefiting veterans by including the military service of those who do not currently meet federal criteria.
- HEA 1359: Waiving the maximum hiring-age restrictions previously placed on veterans who apply to become police officers and firefighters.
- HEA 1373: Extending employment protections to National Guard members called to active duty.
- SEA 154: Increasing the funeral allowance from $4,000 to $8,800 for members of the Indiana National Guard who give their lives while protecting our freedoms.
- SEA 219: Expediting the issuance or renewal of licenses, certificates, registrations or permits to military spouses.
- HEA 1187: Establishing penalties for stolen valor, making it a crime to profit financially by lying about military service.
Our veterans and their wellbeing are a priority. House Republicans are committed to supporting policies providing service members and their families the care they have rightfully earned.
Nearly 1.2 million Hoosiers are employed by a small business, with more than 97 percent of all Indiana businesses being classified as small.
Indiana Entrepreneurship Week, which is June 19-25, celebrates “all things entrepreneurial.”
The week highlights those individuals who have dedicated their lives to entrepreneurship and small business. To honor those men and women, Entrepreneurship Week shines a light on those who turn their passions into reality and are igniting Indiana’s economy.
The state offers a one-stop shop for Hoosier entrepreneurs online with information regarding grants and loans, development programs and connections to advisors. The Indiana Small Business Development Corporation also has important data and resources for those planning on going into business in Indiana.
Activities, seminars and workshops are planned across the state throughout Entrepreneurship Week. Check out the full schedule.