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Around the House

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February 2019

Halftime Update

The Indiana General Assembly has reached the halfway point of the legislative session, which is a milestone for legislation as House bills move to the Senate and Senate bills crossover to the House. Of the 201 bills the House passed to the Senate, 75 percent received bipartisan support.

We made significant progress with our House Republican priorities, which include passing a balanced state budget, increasing protections for Hoosier youth, strengthening the state’s commitment to students and teachers, better aligning workforce initiatives and supporting Indiana’s veterans:

  • House Bill 1001, the House Republican’s balanced state budget proposal, maintains healthy reserves while funding substantive increases for education and school safety.
  • House Bill 1002 promotes early and continuing career exploration and navigation, reinvigorates career and technical education courses and encourages completion of certifications or postsecondary credentials. In addition, the bill prioritizes funding for workforce programs with proven results and provides additional flexibility for schools to partner with employers to establish work-based learning opportunities.
  • House Bill 1003 strongly encourages schools to shift more existing and future dollars to Hoosier classrooms by setting a target for public schools to spend at least 85 percent of state funding on instructional expenses.
  • House Bill 1004 builds on Indiana’s already strong school safety policies by implementing recommendations from Gov. Eric Holcomb’s school safety report to improve physical security at schools and mental health resources for students.
  • House Bill 1005 moves up the appointment date of the school superintendent of public instruction to 2021 from 2025.
  • House Bill 1006 implements necessary reforms for the Indiana Department of Child Services in order to improve the outcomes of the state’s most vulnerable children. The bill includes reducing family case manager caseloads and allowing foster youth to receive services and participate in independent living programs into their early 20’s.
  • House Bill 1007 aims to engage more at-risk expecting mothers in early prenatal care, and requires medical providers to give verbal substance use screenings to pregnant women to improve and increase referrals to addiction treatment.
  • House Bill 1008 creates new professional growth and advancement opportunities through teacher career ladder models.
  • House Bill 1009 provides critical support for new educators by creating residency programs to pair new teachers with mentors in the classroom.
  • House Bill 1010 phases in an income tax exemption for military retirement pensions and increases the assessed value eligibility cap for the disabled veterans’ property tax exemption.

Legislators must conclude the legislative session by April 29. To track these and other bills, watch committee meetings and view session live, visit the Indiana General Assembly’s website here.

 

Lawmakers Raise Cancer Awareness

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 35,280 Hoosiers will be diagnosed with cancer each year.

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. To help raise awareness on how to reduce the risk of cancer, House lawmakers participated in Suits and Sneakers Day, which is an annual event promoted by the American Cancer Society.

With more than half of all cancers in the United States attributed to preventable causes, these healthy habits can help reduce risks. To prevent many types of this disease, choose to eat better foods and get more exerciseRegular screening tests are also key to finding cancers early.

Click here for more information on how to help spread awareness and fight back against cancer.

Preparing our future workforce

Indiana needs to fill nearly 1 million jobs in the next three years. With so many technological and innovative changes happening across most industries, parents and educators need resources to prepare their students for the future job market.

To support student growth and workforce readiness, proposed legislation would strengthen and grow relationships between local employers and schools.

By establishing the Career Coaching Grant Program, local businesses and schools would be able to work together to develop career pipelines for K-12 students. Students would participate in a career navigation system that would prepare them for jobs in their area, and schools would receive funding to tailor their systems to their local needs.

The bill also prioritizes career and technical education courses. Currently, students can obtain a few CTE credits, but not enough to graduate high school with a meaningful credential that makes them employable. This bill would provide comprehensive CTE opportunities that enable students to enter a program in high school and graduate with the employable, stackable and transferable credentials that employers seek.

This legislation is an important step in continuing to support our students and provide them with the resources they need to succeed in the Hoosier workforce.

To track this and other bills, watch committee meetings and view session live, visit the Indiana General Assembly’s website here.

Reducing Indiana’s Infant Mortality Rate

With the seventh-highest infant mortality rate in the nation, there is much to be done in our state to ensure more Hoosier babies live to celebrate their first birthday. The Indiana House passed legislation this session to help engage more at-risk expectant mothers in early prenatal care.

Under this proposal, medical providers would check for signs of substance abuse in pregnant women through a consultation and refer those in need to treatment programs as early as possible. This goes hand-in-hand with our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, because for pregnant mothers who use drugs or consume alcohol, there is often a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

This legislation would also establish a perinatal navigator pilot program, which would help expectant mothers receive prenatal care sooner, and provide referrals for wrap-around services and home-visit programs in the 13 highest-risk counties.

House Bill 1007 builds off previous legislative efforts, including Safety PIN, which is a grant available to health departments and other health care related entities, or nonprofit organizations focused on addressing infant mortality.

Although Indiana’s infant mortality rate remains stubbornly high, taking these vital steps will help connect those most in need to medical resources before, during and after birth.

To track this and other bills, watch committee meetings and view session live, visit the Indiana General Assembly’s website here.

 

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