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Around the House

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The Indiana House Republican Caucus is the majority caucus of the Indiana House of Representatives & has 70 legislators, led by House Speaker Brian Bosma.

Supporting Young Hoosiers with Disabilities

Oftentimes, parents or guardians of children with disabilities incur additional expenses, which can put a strain on the wallets of families just trying to do what is best for their child.

Indiana First Steps is the state’s early intervention system, which works to ensure all Indiana families with infants and toddlers experiencing developmental delays or disabilities have access to services like medical care, counseling, speech and physical therapy and more. Through First Steps, young Hoosiers with disabilities are provided the tools and support needed to more easily navigate their world and prepare them to live more independently today and in the future.

Families with children ages 3 and under who are experiencing developmental delays or have a diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay may be eligible for First Steps services. Families who qualify for Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program will be considered eligible for First Steps services, without having to go through additional application processes.

Under a new law passed this year, the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services will review and revise their policy regarding make-up therapy sessions. Families will now be able to make up missed appointments, ensuring their child is not missing out on important care. Lawmakers also worked to streamline the application process for First Steps and the new two-year state budget doubled funding available for the program, helping more Hoosier children get the care they need.

These changes are just a few of the ways House Republicans continue to support young Hoosiers with disabilities and their families.

For more information on the First Steps program, visit the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration at www.in.gov/fssa.

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Progress In Fight Against Opioid Epidemic

According to a new report from the American Medical Association Opioid Task Force, opioid prescriptions in Indiana decreased by 35 percent over the past five years, a sign of progress in the state’s efforts to combat addiction.

The opioid epidemic has impacted countless Indiana families, resulting in addiction and drug overdose deaths.

Prescribed opioids can be effective, but are also highly addictive pain relievers. In fact, many become addicted and turn to less expensive and easy to obtain heroin or other illegal drugs.

Through implementing commonsense solutions to mitigate this serious health threat, efforts to slow down the illicit use of opioids are paying off. Working to solve the opioid epidemic in Indiana is critical issue that could save lives, and first responders, lawmakers and organizations like the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse are working tirelessly to create a united front against the opioid epidemic.

By requiring doctors and pharmacists to check Indiana’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database before prescribing or dispensing an opioid, new laws have curbed drug users’ ability to illegally obtain multiple prescriptions. To help stop addiction before it starts, steps have been taken to limit the amount of opioids that can be prescribed to individuals.

These efforts, combined with stronger punishments for drug dealers and providing more treatment options for Hoosiers, are helping the state tackle this epidemic from all angles.

Still, too many are facing addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling, please connect with Indiana 2-1-1 for help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 or visit www.samhsa.gov.

To read the full report from the American Medical Association Opioid Task Force, click here.

Nominate An Exceptional Woman

Each year the Indiana Commission for Women recognizes Hoosier women who have been pioneers throughout their lives or who have stepped forward as leaders by breaking down barriers and overcoming obstacles.

The ICW created the Torchbearer Awards in 2004 as a way to honor the achievements of women who have contributed to making Indiana a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Nominations for the 2019 Torchbearer Awards are currently open. Click here to download a form to nominate an outstanding woman. All nomination forms must be received by the ICW no later than 5 p.m. on July 12.

Today, the Torchbearer Award is Indiana’s most prestigious recognition for women in the state. Recipients are women who helped remove barriers to equality and women’s full participation in all aspects of life, and who have created lasting legacies by overcoming immense challenges with courage, perseverance and compassion.

Recipients are selected based on their extraordinary contributions or achievements in the areas of their professional careers, community leadership or public service.

Click here for more information about previous winners.

Shop Local, Support Indiana Grown

Indiana farms produce some of the highest-quality products in the world, but less than 10 percent of food purchased in Indiana is sourced from within the state.

Purchasing locally made and sourced products helps keep money in communities and supports the economy. Often, local businesses purchase from other local businesses, and these funds help grow a region’s tax base. Schools, public safety providers and volunteer organizations throughout the state benefit from this economic growth.

To help Indiana farmers and producers have a greater market for their products, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture created the statewide initiative, Indiana Grown.

Indiana Grown helps provide a clearer designation of which products come from Indiana. By allowing members to use the Indiana Grown logo on their products, the initiative helps consumers easily identify these goods while they are shopping.

Certified Indiana Grown goods can be found in a variety of locations across the state, such as grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores and more. Throughout the summer and fall, local farmers markets are also a great place to find Indiana Grown products right in the neighborhood.

Today, there are over 1,100 Indiana Grown members, including farmers, distributors, producers, processors, wineries, breweries and artisans. It has never been easier to start shopping local.

Visit www.indianagrown.org to find a business or vendor selling Hoosier goods nearby, or apply to become a member. Farmers, producers, processors, artisans, retailers, grocers and restaurants can be a member or partner at no cost. As a certified Indiana Grown member, locally sourced products will be promoted and marketed through the program.

By purchasing more goods grown, raised, produced and processed in Indiana, consumers help keep dollars and food close to home, build sustainable communities and support fellow Hoosiers, while preserving the state’s agriculture heritage.

Summer Meals Available For Students

More than 1 million Hoosiers live in households that do not have enough food to feed their families every day. This can be even more difficult for parents and guardians taking care of their children when school is not in session.

The Indiana Department of Education has partnered with nearly 250 school and community sponsors, so children 18 and younger across the state will have access to free meals and snacks throughout their summer break.

The Summer Food Service Program was created to serve nutritious meals to children when school breakfast and lunch programs are not available. The initiative is designed to meet the needs of low-income families in areas where children may have limited access to good nutrition.

June is the busiest month for the summer food program when many families seek help for additional nutrition resources. Last year, Indiana sponsors served nearly 2.7 million meals across the state. Meal service times vary, and locations range from parks and community centers to schools, churches, neighborhoods, and mobile feeding sites.

For more information about the Summer Food Service Program, including an interactive map with site locations and hours of operation, click here. More resources are also available at Indiana 211.

Providing a healthy, nutritious meal to kids every day is important to their development. Children should be out enjoying their summer breaks with friends and family, and the Summer Food Service Program helps keep their bellies full while doing so.

Explore Indiana hunting and fishing opportunities

Indiana is home to beautiful waterways and parks for Hoosiers to experience the great outdoors and take advantage of various hunting and fishing seasons.

For hunters and anglers, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources offers the Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide and the Indiana Fishing Guide. These downloadable guides provide information about current regulations, season dates, bag limits, license requirements and cost, legal hunting hours, approved equipment and public hunting and fishing locations.

Hunting and fishing trips are also great fun for the whole family. Visit the DNR website for youth safety recommendations, free kids days and interactive maps to find a hunting or fishing location close to home or further away.

To purchase a hunting or fishing license, click here. Every time you purchase an Indiana hunting or fishing license, the funds go directly back to conservation. Funds collected through licenses are used for programs such as wildlife management and research, habitat management and restoration, land acquisition, public access, shooting ranges, fish stocking, DNR law enforcement and more.

With an abundance of wildlife and wilderness throughout the state, now is a great time to get out and enjoy nature.

Protecting Yourself From Post-Storm Scams

Severe weather can pop up at any time. Stay informed on road conditions and keep an eye out for scammers after a big weather event.

The Indiana Travel Advisory app was created to help Hoosiers stay aware of travel conditions to keep residents safe. Each county has an emergency management agency keeping a watchful eye on the weather 24 hours a day.

To download the app, visit the iTunes App Store or get it on Google Play.

After severe weather hits, Hoosiers should be aware of scammers who may take advantage of homeowners needing repairs.

Reputable contractors also visit storm-ravaged neighborhoods offering their services, but consumers should do their homework to make sure to hire trustworthy companies. Research any business or individual offering services. Look for signs of credibility such as official websites. Seek reviews and testimonials from former customers and avoid letting the emotional toll of a situation influence decisions about repairing or replacing items that are damaged or lost.

Follow these helpful tips to avoid falling for a scam:

  • Do not sign documents or agree to any repair work on the spot during initial contact with someone offering services. Instead, obtain the person’s contact information;
  • Do not provide access to your home to any stranger offering to perform a free inspection;
  • Do not fall for high-pressure tactics such as the claim that you will get the best deal by agreeing to hire a contractor immediately on the spot; and
  • Contact your insurance agency to find out your terms of coverage and ask for recommendations.

Click here for additional tips.

Honoring our fallen heroes

Memorial Day is a time to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our country and the freedoms we enjoy today. Our appreciation for those who have dedicated their lives to defending the blessings of liberty is boundless.

While we can never repay the debt owed, we must also thank our veterans for their service. A new law will phase in a full income tax exemption for military retirement pensions and survivors’ benefits over a four-year period. House Republicans hope to encourage our veterans to live, work and retire in Indiana.

There are approximately 400,000 veterans living in Indiana, but many are unaware of the resources available to them. Under another new law, questions regarding the status of veterans and surviving spouses will be included on applications for driver’s licenses and permits, and state identification cards. The Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be able to access this information to connect with veterans and their families when promoting outreach programs.

Another new measure calls for more oversight for Indiana’s Military Family Relief Fund to ensure transparent and equitable distribution of money. The fund is a dedicated account that receives money through donations and the purchase of veteran license plates like “Support the Troops.” Emergency grants through the fund may be used by military families to assist in food, housing, utilities, medical services and transportation expenses.

As you enjoy Memorial Day weekend, please join House Republicans in remembering our fallen service members and families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

Explore Indiana Festivals

It is festival time in Indiana again! No matter what activities you and your family enjoy, there is something for everyone in the Hoosier state.

For upcoming events in your community and throughout Indiana, check out the 2019 Indiana Festival Guide. With county fairs, holiday parades and celebrations, music festivals, and everything in between, there is no shortage of fun summer activities.

Visiting attractions right here in Indiana is easy, affordable and helps support the economy. In fact, Indiana welcomed 80 million visitors in 2018, generating more than $12.7 billion in revenue and helping Hoosiers save an average of $561 in state and local taxes per household.

Go to visitIndiana.com for trip ideas and information on lodging, events, attractions, restaurants and discounts. Copies of the festival guide, the 2019 Indiana Travel Guide and other helpful publications can be downloaded or mail-ordered for free at visitIndiana.com or by calling 800-677-9800.

Get out there and experience all our state has to offer. Stay safe and travel Indiana!

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