Around the House



Growing Indiana’s Workforce

Indiana’s unemployment rate continues to drop. In May, the state’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent, a near-record low. However, local employers are still looking to fill many new and high-paying job openings with educated and hard-working individuals.

The General Assembly enacted a new law that will help Hoosiers fill these positions by providing Workforce Training Grants and aligning career and technical education programs. In addition, the law increases per-student funding for high-school Career and Technical Education courses in high-demand job fields to help more Hoosiers be hired, employers succeed and drive Indiana’s economy forward.

Promoting Economic Development: A new policy establishing a five-year pilot program incentivizing local entrepreneurs in Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Lafayette to launch and grow their businesses could help boost the local economy. This program is an effort to help improve and strengthen the business climate and create job opportunities.

Prioritizing Veteran Employment: A new measure ensuring veterans and their spouses are placed in federal and state job training programs will help them achieve meaningful employment. Indiana already has the lowest unemployment rate for veterans in the nation, and this law will continue to expand services for those who bravely served our country.

Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more laws enacted this legislative session.

Helping stroke patients

When someone suffers from a stroke, minutes count. A new law helping stroke patients receive necessary treatment could prevent permanent and extensive damage to the patient’s brain.

State Rep. Denny Zent successfully pushed for legislation this year providing EMS personnel with access to information about surrounding hospitals so they are able to decide which hospital is closest and best equipped to treat a stroke patient. This new law also encourages more hospitals to seek stroke certification.

Zent says this legislation deals with a health issue that could likely affect every Hoosier family at some point. The goal is to get the patients to the correct hospitals with the right equipment, the right personnel and the right protocols to receive treatment. This will help save time and lives.

Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more highlights of laws enacted this legislative session.

A Healthier Indiana

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, suicide has been the second-leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24 in Indiana since 2009. Reports show that in 2015, 49 of Indiana’s 92 counties had at least one young person die by suicide.

To raise awareness and decrease the number of youth suicides in Indiana, lawmakers supported a new policy that will require school staff to receive youth-suicide awareness and prevention training. Providing evidence-based suicide prevention and intervention training to school employees will help identify individuals who may be contemplating taking their own life and help them get treatment.

Here are highlights of other new laws benefiting the wellbeing of Hoosiers all over the state:

Fighting Cervical Cancer: According to the Indiana Cancer Consortium, approximately 250 new cervical cancer cases and 86 cervical cancer-related deaths occur annually among Hoosier women. This new measure tasks the Indiana State Department of Health with developing a statewide strategic plan to attack this problem. The department must work to identify barriers to cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment, while also developing public and private partnerships to increase cervical cancer awareness and recommend actions to reduce the number of Hoosier deaths associated with the disease.

Helping Epilepsy Patients: A new measure giving Hoosiers with treatment-resistant epilepsy the option to use cannabidiolas an alternative therapy should provide relief to many desperate patients. CBD oil is derived from industrial hemp, cannot be used as a recreational drug and has shown promise in treating the symptoms of severe epilepsy.

Expanding Addiction Treatment: Indiana is facing high levels of illegal drug abuse. According to a recent report, nearly a third of mothers who gave birth at one Indiana hospital tested positive for illegal drugs last year. This new law includes neonatal abstinence syndrome as a condition for determining if a newborn child is in need of services will help them receive immediate addiction treatment.

Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more highlights of laws enacted this legislative session.

This session, House Republicans remained focused on strengthening our commitment to education in Indiana, which is why the new biennial budget increases base funding for each K-12 student statewide. Several new laws provide more tools and resources to Hoosier students and teachers:

Increasing Course Options: A new law providing access to specialty classes and programs not provided at certain schools will help all students regardless of where they are enrolled. Whether small, rural or urban, some schools may lack the necessary resources to provide advanced classes or trade programs in high-demand areas.

Retaining New Teachers: A new law establishing a mentorship program for new Hoosier teachers and administrators will encourage those in their first and second year to remain in the classroom. Studies suggest that most new teachers believe having access to a mentor has the largest impact on developing their effectiveness as an educator.

Reforming School Funding: A new measure creating two funding categories for schools, an education fund and an operations fund, will provide greater financial flexibility. Indiana invests over half of the state’s budget in K-12 education, but only 57 percent of school funding reaches classrooms. By allowing transfers between these two funds, schools will be able to direct more dollars where needed.

Our students hold the keys to our state’s bright future and House Republicans are dedicated to supporting commonsense policies like these that help them grow and succeed.

Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more highlights of laws enacted this legislative session.

Starting July 1, Hoosier children under age 18 will be required to wear a helmet when riding or operating an off-road vehicle, unless it is for an agricultural purpose.

The number of deaths related to off-road vehicles is on the rise in Indiana. Last year, 21 Hoosiers died as a result of ATV wrecks. In 2015, an 11-year-old girl named Kate Bruggenschmidt was riding an ATV with a friend on private property in Spencer County. While going up a hill, the ATV rolled and Kate was trapped underneath. She was not wearing a helmet and suffered severe head trauma. Tragically, Kate did not survive the accident. This legislative session, her mother and close friends made touching and courageous testimonies at the Statehouse in support of this law.

Other laws passed this session to help keep Indiana residents safe include:

HEA 1010: A new law aims to keep those who repeatedly violate their probation or community supervision off the streets. Low-level offenders receiving services like addiction treatment can now be committed to the Department of Correction if they don’t adhere to their probation, parole or community corrections.

HEA 1001: As part of the biennial budget, salaries for all state law enforcement officers in Indiana will increase by 24 percent. This includes Indiana State Police and Conservation Officers. This will ensure that those who serve and protect their fellow Hoosiers are compensated at a rate competitive with other states and municipalities.

SEA 322: A new law allowing law enforcement to expand the use of DNA to solve crimes will help identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent. A cheek swab can now be taken upon felony arrest and, after a court finds probable cause, the DNA sample would be run through a national database to pinpoint and stop criminals. Thirty other states already have similar legislation on the books.

HEA 1289: A new law preventing sex trafficking in massage parlors will require massage therapists to have proper training and certification. Indiana had a voluntary certification process for these individuals. This licensure requirement will protect legitimate professionals while making sex trafficking more difficult.

HEA 1071: A new law allowing protective orders to temporarily double as handgun permits in domestic violence situations will keep vulnerable Hoosiers safe. Victims can use their protective order as a handgun permit if they have applied for a handgun license, are 18 years of age and have not been convicted of a felony. The protective order is valid for a 60-day period.

SEA 479: A new law strengthening penalties against drivers accused of leaving the scene of a serious accident where there are multiple victims will help keep our roads safe. Now, hit-and-run drivers will be held accountable for every individual they seriously injure or kill in the accident.

Follow #NewIndianaLaws on social media and our blog series for more highlights of laws enacted this legislative session.

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