INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana General Assembly has discussed several proposals to start the 2015 legislative session. State Senator Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) has authored a number of initiatives, focusing on issues related to redistricting, unemployment insurance and taxes

Unemployment insurance overpayments

Previously bus drivers received an unemployment benefit during the summer, but are now considered seasonal employees and ineligible for unemployment benefits. Bus drivers are being told they must repay the benefits they received during past summers. SB 111 would implore the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to waive the repayment.

Madison circuit court magistrate

Commissioners have already consolidated and are still in need of four additional judicial officers.  As per request from Judge Thomas Clem at the Madison circuit court, SB 150 was drafted to allow the Court to jointly appoint a second full-time magistrate to ease the case load.

Adult protective services study committee

In an effort to protect our most vulnerable adults, Sen. Lanane has proposed a study to examine how Indiana can improve statewide adult protective services that investigate allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation under SB 182. The proposal would require the Legislative Council to assign the topic of adult protective service laws to an appropriate study committee during the 2015 interim to help protect older Hoosiers.

Redistricting commission

In an effort to ensure transparency when drawing district maps, Sen. Lanane has proposed SB 183 to establish an independent redistricting commission to create, hold hearings on, take public comment about, and recommend plans to redraw Indiana General Assembly (IGA) districts and congressional districts. The proposal would also require the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) to provide staff and administrative services to the commission and would establish standards to govern the commission and the LSA in the creation of redistricting plans.  SB 183 would require the IGA to meet and to enact redistricting plans for IGA districts before October 1 of a redistricting year. The proposal would allow the IGA to act on redistricting bills during session other than currently authorized times to make elections more competitive.

Biliteracy

After meetings with Indiana Latinos, Sen. Lanane drafted SB 400 as well as SB 267 which would establish the State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize public school graduates who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in English and at least one other language. It would require the State Board of Education to adopt rules and to direct the Department of Education to administer the State Seal of Biliteracy program but would not require school corporations or charter schools to participate.

Protected taxes and school corporations

SB 401 would make the fund allocation of property tax reductions resulting from the granting of property tax circuit breaker credits for some school corporations permanent.

Military veteran public safety officer hiring age

The son of a constituent of Sen. Lanane’s district returned from military service unable to apply for a position with the Muncie Fire Department because of age. In order to combat this issue, SB 402 was proposed to allow veterans of the armed forces of the United States to be appointed as a police officer or firefighter at the age of 40 rather than 36.

Student athletes and head injuries

A former NFL player suffered from head injuries sustained while playing high school football eventually took his own life. Current law provides that the law concerning concussion and head injuries applies only to high school student athletes. SB 403 would extend this law to athletes in Grades 5 through 12. The proposal would also require all coaches and assistant coaches of student athletes who are less than 20 years of age to complete certain certified coaching education courses, rather than just football coaches.

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