State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) has been meeting with community members, policy experts and local officials to craft his proposals for the 2019 legislative session. Read more about proposed ideas that Sen. Melton hopes to get approved in 2019.
Teacher salary increase
Teachers in Indiana are not valued for the important work they do for our next generation of workers. Sen. Melton is proposing we increase teacher salaries to both combat our rising teacher shortage crisis by making the field more enticing to future educators as well as send a message to current teachers that we value their efforts on behalf of our children.
DCS loan forgiveness
Indiana is facing a shortage of Family Case Managers in the Department of Child Services (DCS) as well as large turnover rates in employees. To incentivize Hoosiers to work for the Department and stay there for a reasonable amount of time, I am offering a bill that would provide student loan forgiveness for case managers and supervisors who have been employed by DCS for at least three years.
Cap on payday lending charges
Currently, low-income Hoosiers who are seeking a payday loan are charged with exorbitant, unrealistic interest rates as high as almost 400 percent. Sen. Melton’s proposal would cap these interest rates at 36 percent to ensure no Hoosier who is already in a tight spot with money is going bankrupt using a service meant to help them get by.
Increase minimum wage
Hoosiers are finding it too difficult to support their families on the state’s low minimum wage. This is why Sen. Melton is proposing that we increase the minimum wage immediately to $9 per hour, with incremental 50 cent increases each year to culminate in a total minimum wage of $12 per hour. His proposal would also allow local areas to set their own employee benefit requirements so that every Hoosier can make a living wage.
Tax exemptions for veterans
Our military and veterans have risked their lives for us and have truly sacrificed for our country. Sen. Melton is offering a bill that would exempt the first $40,000 of retired military pay and the entire salary of active duty and guard members from state income tax. This is just a small benefit our active and retired military members deserve for their contributions to protect our nation.
Additional funds for Everybody Counts
Everybody Counts is a Living Center in Northwest Indiana for individuals with disabilities. They have not received adequate funding to perform the important work they do for the communities in Sen. Melton’s district. This is why Sen. Melton is proposing an appropriation from the General Fund for this organization so they can expand their efforts to assist individuals with disabilities in the Northwest region of Indiana.
Diversity training for state employees
It is more important than ever that people understand and respect the diversity of their colleagues, those who they do business with, and those who they represent. This is why Sen. Melton is hoping to pass legislation that would require legislative staff and legislators, to undergo diversity training to better relate and effectively communicate with the myriad of backgrounds present in our state.
Indiana Housing Task Force
Access to safe, quality and stable housing is a growing problem in Indiana, and we need people from a broad range of communities with diverse perspectives to help us create solutions. Sen. Melton will propose a bill that will develop a housing task force to gain a broader understanding of the state’s housing crisis and create innovative solutions for a broad range of Hoosiers seeking quality market-rate housing.
Pre-Kindergarten pilot program eligibility
Currently, guardians of a child wishing to enroll in the On My Way Pre-K program must meet a work requirement to be eligible. In some cases, retired grandparents or a disabled parent are the guardians of a children and are physically unable to work. This requirement is an unnecessary burden on these types of families who should have every opportunity to provide an early education for their children as other families. Sen. Melton is proposing to eliminate this work requirement to allow more children the ability to begin their education journey early.
Sen. Melton is proposing renter laws are changed to provide more rights for tenants, including the ability to withhold rent for needed repairs, provide longer notice before eviction proceedings can begin and limit the amount of security deposit a landlord can require. Renters in Indiana have been taken advantage of by some property owners, and it is Sen. Melton’s mission to ensure that renters are receiving fair treatment.