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Featured Podcast

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.

Featured post

Ways To Save At The Indiana State Fair

After being canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indiana State Fair is back in full swing starting July 30, celebrating the resiliency of the Hoosier Spirit. From deep-fried foods to 4-H projects, and from farm animals to carnival rides, the fair has something for everyone to enjoy.

The fair will run through Aug. 22, and if you’re planning to visit, be sure to check out the following deals and discounts:

  • BMV Discount Day, Wednesday, Aug. 4
    Click here to download a voucher to get $6 gate admission.
  • $3 Thursdays, Aug. 5, 12 & 19
    On Thursdays, fairgoers will pay $3 for gate admission, midway rides and food options at each food stand.
  • Free IndyStar Ticket, Wednesday, Aug. 11
    Buy a copy of the IndyStar on Aug. 9 for free admission on Aug. 11.
  • AAA Day, Wednesday, Aug. 18
    AAA cardholders get free admission with a valid AAA membership card presented at the gate. One valid card per person.
  • Military and First Responders Day, Friday, Aug. 20
    First responders, current and former military members, and their families get free admission with valid ID presented at the gate.

The Free Stage will host a variety of musical acts, including Josh Turner, Noah Cyrus and the Beach Boys. The Hoosier Lottery Grandstand will also feature a number of free and paid admission events, such as a hot air balloon race, and traditional events like the high school band and cheerleading competitions.

This year, the fair will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays weekly, and will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays, and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. all other days. Click here for a complete list of events, exhibits, activities and more. Tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the gate.

For more information about the Indiana State Fair, visit indianastatefair.com.

Apply For Women’s Scholarship

Non-traditional female students in Indiana can now apply for a scholarship through the Political Organization for Women’s Education and Representation (POWER) Caucus.

Non-traditional female students include women who are returning to school following a hiatus, changing career paths, seeking advancement in their work life, and stay-at-home mothers entering the workplace who need additional education or training. POWER scholarships are not intended for recent high school graduates or women who are eligible for or have already received other significant financial aid.

Additionally, scholarships are given to women who are Indiana residents and pursuing higher education in the state.

The POWER Caucus provides two types of scholarships – one for students enrolled at Indiana colleges or universities, and another students majoring full time in science, technology, engineering or mathematics at one of the state’s higher education institutions.

A bipartisan selection committee awards 18 scholarships – two from each congressional district – for $750 each. The scholarship check will be made directly to the institution with instructions to apply the funds to the student’s current account to pay for school tuition, books and fees. Qualified applicants include female college students whose education may have been delayed or interrupted, and the committee will consider financial need, personal vision, service to community and post-education plans.

Scholarships can be used for the 2022 spring semester. The application deadline is Nov. 15, 2021, and recipients will be announced on Dec. 17, 2021, and granted before Dec. 31, 2021. Scholarship applications can be found here.

New Laws To Help Improve Hoosier Health

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted Indiana’s health challenges and underscored the need for action. This session, House Republicans focused on supporting initiatives to improve Hoosiers’ physical and mental health across the state.

House Enrolled Act 1007 creates a new grant program that directs $50 million to initiatives targeting chronic health conditions across Indiana in order to increase overall health. Preference will be given to proposals focused on improving health problems such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

With Senate Enrolled Act 82, more licensed professionals can diagnose mental health disorders to help Hoosiers obtain quicker access to treatment. Clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, clinical addiction counselors or physicians assistants can diagnose and refer an individual to start mental health treatment.

More licensed practitioners can offer telehealth services to Hoosiers as long as they ensure the same standard of care patients expect with an in-person appointment. Senate Enrolled Act 3 builds on efforts to help those in rural and underserved areas maintain access to care.

Those with autism, Down Syndrome and other diagnoses often receive specialized services through behavior analysts. Thanks to House Enrolled Act 1516, these professionals can now be licensed in Indiana, which will help families more easily find qualified practitioners.

These new laws will help us tackle some of the most critical health issues we face, and improve Hoosiers’ overall wellness and quality of life. For more information on these and other new laws addressing public health issues, visit iga.in.gov.

Supporting Lawful Hoosier Gun Owners

Lawful Hoosier gun owners no longer have to pay a state fee to obtain a lifetime license to carry a handgun thanks to House Enrolled Act 1001, which took effect July 1.

To apply for a free lifetime or five-year handgun gun license, or renew current permits, visit in.gov/isp. The Indiana State Police reported receiving 7,136 applications in the first 24 hours after the permits became fee exempt on July 1. Due to the high volume of applications, there could be a delay in accessing the website or scheduling your fingerprint appointment.

In 2019, House Enrolled Act 1284 waived the fee to obtain a five-year permit.

It’s important to note the application process for a carry permit has not changed, and the fee exemption does not apply to the costs associated with background checks or fingerprinting. After starting the application process, Hoosiers need to finish the following steps within 180 days:

  • Complete an online firearm license application;
  • Schedule a fingerprint appointment; and
  • Complete local law enforcement processing.

After finishing these steps, the Indiana State Police will conduct a final review and either issue or deny a permit to the individual.

Support For Local Job Providers

Businesses across Indiana are open and ready to serve their communities. This session, House Republicans focused on getting Hoosiers back to work and supporting job providers as they bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic. Several new laws now in effect will help local businesses get back on track and bolster our state’s workforce.

To support businesses, Senate Enrolled Act 1 and House Enrolled Act 1002 provide employers, schools and health care entities civil liability protections related to COVID-19. Temporary immunity protects them from lawsuits alleging COVID-19 exposure at their business. These protections are not for those accused of gross negligence.

House Enrolled Act 1004 supports jobs, employers and economic recovery by investing $60 million to expand the Hoosier Hospitality Small Business Restart Grant Program. Businesses across the state negatively impacted by the pandemic, especially those in the tourism and hospitality industry, are encouraged to apply for grant funding. The Small Business Restart Grants can be used to pay for a portion of business and payroll-related expenses. Learn more at backontrack.in.gov.

With House Enrolled Act 1009, those 24 years old or younger in a home receiving TANF benefits can earn up to $15,000 through internships or work-based learning programs, and not jeopardize their family’s assistance. The new law also increases the Earned Income Tax Credit, which will put over $10 million annually into the hands of Hoosiers.

Hoosiers with physical or intellectual disabilities who are entering the workforce will receive extra support from local and state agencies as a part of House Enrolled Act 1313. More than 17,000 individuals can access resources to obtain job- and life-skill training as they pursue independence.

Local businesses support our communities, provide jobs to hardworking Hoosiers and boost the economy. They are key to our state’s growth and vitality. For more information on these and other new laws supporting Hoosier job providers, visit iga.in.gov.

Kicking Off Summer Study Committees

Indiana lawmakers are kicking off summer study committees, where they will examine the state’s top issues in advance of the next legislative session. From the Community Crossings program building up our infrastructure to the overall health of Hoosiers, summer study committees look at a wide range of topics throughout the summer and fall.

These study committees play an important role in the legislative process as they provide a forum for state policymakers to examine current and potential laws, work with members of the public and stakeholders to find solutions on important issues facing our state and communities, and prepare for the upcoming session.

Often, lawmakers serve on committees based on their experience and areas of expertise. State Rep. Steve Davisson (R-Salem), a pharmacist, will serve on the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services. This committee will be looking into several important issues, including Indiana’s trauma care system and the state’s OB Navigator Program helping mothers and their babies. State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero), a retired school superintendent, is a member of the Interim Study Committee on Education. This summer study committee will work to eliminate burdensome mandates on our schools and examine grant programs supporting students who are at risk of falling behind or scored below academic standards because of disruptions caused by COVID-19.  

Click here to see which committees members will be serving on, and for a full list of topics to be examined, click here.

Members of the public are welcomed to attend and testify at committee hearings, which typically occur at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Hearings are also livestreamed and archived online at iga.in.gov, where committee calendars and meeting agendas are posted.

Build, Learn, Grow Scholarships Available

A new scholarship through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is available for working families seeking high-quality early education and out-of-school programs for their children.

Build, Learn, Grow scholarships can be used for children’s early care and education, and summer learning or out-of-school care. The scholarship covers 80% of child care costs for kids up to age 12.

Eligible families must include at least one member who is considered an essential worker, like those who work in health care or food service. There are also income eligibility requirements.

With thousands of jobs currently available in the state, Hoosiers who lost employment or income during the pandemic are looking at obtaining new or better-paying careers. Build, Learn, Grow scholarships can help working families with child care costs, so they can return to the workforce. This program also helps provide support to students whose learning was impacted by the pandemic so they can get back on track academically. Applications are open through Oct. 31. There are 50,000 scholarships available on a first-come, first-served basis. Currently, there are more than 1,400 programs throughout the state accepting scholarships. Learn more and apply at brighterfuturesindiana.org/scholarships/families.

Nominate A ‘Golden Hoosier’ Today

This past year, many older Hoosiers stepped up and helped others during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Golden Hoosier Award, we can honor them for their contributions to our communities.

The award, established in 2008, honors Hoosiers age 65 or older who volunteer their time, knowledge and compassion in service to their communities. The lieutenant governor and Indiana Family and Social Services Administration present the honor annually.

The Golden Hoosier Award is the highest honor Indiana confers on its older residents.

From retired teachers to those helping ex-offenders, and from military veterans to volunteers with local festivals, our communities are fortunate to be home to older Hoosiers working tirelessly on behalf of others.

Now is our chance to recognize them with a Golden Hoosier Award. Eligibility requirements include being an Indiana resident and a volunteer in your community for at least the past three years.

Click here for the nomination form, and be sure to submit it before Saturday, June 19. Those selected will be honored later this year during a virtual ceremony. 

Accelerating Student Learning

As many students start enjoying their summer break, many local organizations are preparing to accelerate student learning over the next few months and beyond. Learning loss is an issue some young Hoosiers experience when they return to school in the fall. Since COVID-19 disrupted student learning over the last year, many are still working to try to catch up.  

In an effort to prevent these students from falling further behind, lawmakers this session approved House Enrolled Act 1008, which established the Student Learning Recovery Grant Program. Recently, the Indiana Department of Education awarded more than $122 million in grant dollars to community organizations and schools in 83 of Indiana’s 92 counties to help students get back on track.

As part of this program, grant recipients will focus on literacy, math, and college and career readiness this summer through tutoring, after-school programming and other enhanced learning opportunities.

Click here for more information about local organizations that received grants.

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