INDIANAPOLIS—State Senator Lindel Hume (D-Princeton) proposed several bills during the recently adjourned legislative session that were approved by the General Assembly and are expected to be signed into law by the governor. Most new laws become effective July 1, 2014. Sen. Hume’s initiatives address school building safety, disability benefits for emergency medical service providers and efforts to reduce human trafficking.
Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 344 creates a division of the Indiana Department of Education dedicated to increasing the safety of school buildings. Under the act authored by Sen. Hume, the School Building Security and Safety Division would be responsible for creating nonbinding guidelines for the construction or renovation of buildings or facilities for school corporations. Schools would be required to consider these guidelines during construction and could request recommendations from the School Building Security and Safety Division when creating plans for construction, renovation or alteration of school facilities.
Sen. Hume authored SEA 61, which authorizes local municipal corporations to provide disability insurance programs for its emergency medical services providers. The insurance would only be eligible for full-time employees whose injury or illness isn’t covered by worker’s compensation or occupational diseases compensation, but could be utilized if either has been exhausted. The municipal corporation may provide the insurance program by purchasing a policy or establishing a self-insurance program, but the approval for its creation must come from its fiscal body. The act also requires that the waiting period before a benefit begins may not be greater than 30 days for a short term disability program or 120 days for a long term disability program.
SEA 291, co-authored by Sen. Hume, provides the Indiana Attorney General with new powers in cases of human trafficking. The Attorney General would be given the same authority as a law enforcement agency in human trafficking cases with the ability to access and maintain information regarding a related violation. The Attorney General would be able to assist with the investigation and prosecution of an alleged violation, but wouldn’t be able to arrest or criminally prosecute these cases.
Sen. Hume sponsored House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1360, which creates a division of the Indiana Department of Health dedicated to assisting pregnant women who are addicted to controlled substances. The Division of Mental Health and Addiction would track women who are addicted to controlled substances during their pregnancy, offer assistance in eliminating the addiction through intervention or other means, and continue to monitor mother and child after the birth in order to offer any further treatment. The act also requires the board to elect its chairperson and vice chairperson positions, meet four times annually and stipulates that the psychiatrist member of the board be certified in addiction psychiatry. HEA 1360 would also enact several measures to assist students pursuing an education or fellowship opportunities in addiction psychiatry by offering loan forgiveness and funding two students in this field each year.
SEA 138, co-authored by Sen. Hume, will allow victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence or human sex trafficking to confer with a victim service provider during court hearings. The victim service provider cannot be an employee or hire of the victim’s legal counsel or a representative of a law enforcement agency. Rather, the provider must be a representative of an organization that offers services for psychological and or emotional conditions for victims of the aforementioned crimes. Under the law, these representatives could attend any civil proceedings with the victim and could confer with them as necessary.
Sen. Hume represents Indiana Senate District 48 which includes portions of Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Pike, Spencer and Warrick Counties. For more information on Sen. Hume his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S48.