INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday, State Senator Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) voted in committee to approve a proposal that would require the Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) to designate a coordinator for the Hoosier Women Veteran’s program. Senate Bill (SB) 424, co-authored by Sen. Arnold, was unanimously approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs and the Military committee and will now move to the Senate floor to be considered by the full Senate.
“We made strides last session to set in place the organizational framework for this position within our Department of Veterans’ Affairs,” said Sen Arnold. “This proposal was a major legislative priority for our caucus last session, so it is encouraging to see the bill move forward this session to bring Indiana one step closer to fully funding a women veteran’s program coordinator.”
The proposal from last session, SEA 354, established the program to provide information and services specific to Indiana’s growing population of female veterans. Over 33,000 women veterans currently reside in Indiana, with that number estimated to grow as more women retire from military service. Hoosier women veterans have served in every war period, including World War II, and 1,087 of them are military retirees. There are 2,335 women on active duty not including those serving in the Indiana National Guard or who are members of a Reserve unit.
Last year’s proposal was weakened during the House of Representatives’ committee process and excluded language allocating new funds to IDVA to fund the women veterans’ coordinator position until funds could be allocated in a budget session. As of January 12, 2015, Laura McKee was appointed by Governor Pence to serve as the state’s women’s coordinator. Her first day will be January 26, 2015.
Sen. Arnold represents District 8 in the Indiana State Senate which encompasses the majority of LaPorte County including the City of LaPorte and the eastern part of Michigan City. It also includes western St. Joseph County and Davis, Oregon, Washington, Center and Jackson townships in Starke County. For more information on Sen. Arnold, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S8.