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  • 3/19/2018 Indiana is facing a serious foster home shortage. With more than 23,000 Hoosiers in foster care, there are more children in the child welfare system than available foster families. Every child deserves a loving and supportive home filled with compassion and care. This session, I supported proposals for new laws to help foster students better succeed in school and to give Hoosier foster parents a voice.

    Statistics show children in the foster care system are more likely to have truancy issues and less likely to graduate from high school and go on to college. Oftentimes, these children are removed from their homes due to traumatic circumstances. Once placed into the foster care system, they may live through sporadic home and school transfers as well as the unfamiliarity that accompanies new homes and communities. These experiences can be discouraging to students in the foster care system and put them behind academically.

    Currently, the Department of Child Services does not share data about a foster child’s situation with the child’s school. Consequently, educators may be unaware of the child’s personal challenges and they may fall through the cracks. A policy in the hands of Gov. Eric Holcomb to consider signing into law will task DCS with coordinating with school officials to ensure children in the foster care system are better served. This will give teachers the information needed to help vulnerable students and greatly improve their educational outcomes.
  • 3/12/2018 With the recent tragedy in Florida, safety and security in our Indiana schools are top of mind. While the 2018 legislative session is coming to a close, lawmakers are working on short- and long-term proposals to boost school safety. Situations like Parkland are reflective of complex problems and will require a multi-faceted approach to better protect our communities from similar tragedies. 
    Last year, the Security Industry Association highlighted our state as a “national leader” for implementing and investing in school safety policies. 
    We are one of only a few states in the country to operate a School Safety Specialist Academy, which has trained and certified nearly 2,500 specialists at no cost to schools. Indiana is 1 of 2 states to require every school district to employ a certified specialist who is trained annually on best practices.
    Each school must have a school safety plan and an assigned full- or part-time school resource officer in the district who is a member of law enforcement with specialized training and full police powers. 
  • 3/5/2018 Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal activity in the world. In Indiana, 83 human trafficking cases were reported and 268 calls were made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2016 alone. This horrendous crime has become a serious issue in our state. We need to do all we can to combat this crime and protect our Hoosiers. I recently supported proposals for new laws to crack down on offenders and help victims get the help they need.
    Under current law, health practitioners are required to report all suspected human trafficking patients, regardless of age, to social services and local law enforcement. When referred to authorities, victims 18 years of age or older could potentially be charged with prostitution or face possible retribution from their trafficker. Medical professionals and advocates said this has discouraged some victims from seeking the help that they need. Proposed legislation would remove the requirement to report suspected adult human trafficking victims and instead encourage and require licensed health care providers to offer information about community resources and services, such as a 24/7 victim hotline.
  • 2/26/2018 Indiana’s low taxes and inviting business climate have resulted in thousands of new job opportunities in the state. As we attract employers to Indiana and investments are made, we need to ensure Hoosiers have the skills to fill high-demand, high-wage positions. 
    The state annually invests $1 billion in 30 different workforce development programs across nine separate agencies. House Republicans are focusing on reorganizing the state’s workforce programs and funding by using return-on-investment metrics to determine which programs are successful and where improvements are needed. Identifying where our programs overlap will help streamline efforts to make the system more efficient and beneficial to Hoosier jobseekers and employers. 
  • 2/19/2018 Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Indiana, following heart disease. About 2.4 million Hoosiers, or 2 out of every 5 people now living in Indiana, will eventually develop cancer. To help raise cancer awareness and support those affected by the disease, House lawmakers participated last week in the Suits and Sneakers Challenge, hosted annually at the Statehouse by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. February is recognized as National Cancer Prevention Month, which is the opportune time to learn about the steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of cancer and save lives.
  • 2/12/2018 The 2018 legislative session reached its halfway point, with 172 Senate bills moving to the House for consideration and 130 approved House bills crossing over to the Senate. House Republicans advanced our agenda priorities, passing bills addressing K-12 funding, strengthening Indiana’s workforce, attacking the opioid epidemic and increasing government efficiency. We also supported proposals helping Hoosiers suffering from a range of maladies and assisting children with disabilities. 
    A number of Hoosiers throughout the state suffer from certain forms of epilepsy and other debilitating diseases that are unresponsive to traditional methods of medical treatment. Cannabidiol, or CBD, has shown documented effectiveness in managing the severe symptoms of these and a wide variety of other maladies.
  • 2/5/2018 With the 2018 legislative session reaching its midway point, House bills will move to the Senate for consideration and Senate bills will be examined by House members. Among important bills moving through the process that I am supporting is one that would add two new screenings for newborns and another that would help military college students called to active duty. 
    In Indiana, newborns are tested for 47 conditions shortly after birth. Lawmakers are considering adding screenings for spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, and severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, to the list. 
  • 1/29/2018 Indiana is in good shape with a strong economy, peak employment and low taxes. Our strong fiscal foundation and economic momentum positions us well to handle the challenges we are facing in the 2018 legislative session, including fulfilling our funding commitments to local schools, reforming our workforce system, continuing our attack on the opioid epidemic and cutting government red tape.
  • 1/22/2018 Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday, Jan. 9, delivered his second State of the State address. While escorting him down the aisle of the Indiana House Chamber – an honor I will always cherish – I was reflecting on the 2018 legislative session and the work ahead for state lawmakers.
  • 1/8/2018 With a new year comes a new legislative session. The 120th Indiana General Assembly is already underway, and committee meetings will be starting very soon. This session will be a busy and exciting one, and many of the topics on the House Republican agenda will directly impact members within our community. In order for me to best represent you, we need to communicate with each other and stay engaged.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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