INDIANAPOLIS – State Senator Frank Mrvan (D-Hammond) proposed a number of bills during the 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, 2015. Sen. Mrvan’s legislation focused on efforts to protect children from serious sex offenders, expand mental health and drug treatment programs as well as establish teacher training to identify dyslexic students.

Serious sex offenders

Sen. Mrvan authored Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 522 that will make entry on school property by a serious sex offender a Level 6 felony. A Level 6 felony is punishable by a prison term ranging from 6 to 30 months. If a sex offender has a polling place that is located on a school property, they would have to be notified by a circuit court clerk before an election, and be provided the opportunity to vote by mail or have transportation to a clerk’s office, satellite office, or vote center in order to vote. The Department of Corrections (DOC) will be required to inform a serious sex offender of the penalties for violation of this act and alternative voting options at the time of discharge from the DOC.

Overdose drugs

An emergency medical professional will be allowed to dispense, write a prescription for, or prepare a standing order for an overdose intervention drug under SEA 406. The act also allows civil immunity for a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, or a family member or a friend in a position to assist an individual experiencing an opioid-related overdose, to obtain and administer an overdose intervention drug.

Mental health and drug treatment

Sen. Mrvan also coauthored a measure that will expand mental health and drug treatment programs. Specifically, it provides that addiction counseling, inpatient detoxification and medication may be required as a condition for an individual’s parole, probation, community corrections or participation in a problem-solving court. SEA 464 will also allow up to five certified community mental health centers to apply to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction to operate a new opioid treatment program to combat the state’s growing prescription drug and heroin addiction problem.

Controlled substances

Sen. Mrvan sponsored House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1184 authorizing optometrists to prescribe Tramadol, a pain reliever which will also be added as a schedule IV controlled substance. Allowing optometrists the ability to prescribe this pain reliever will help to eliminate the unnecessary, duplicate emergency room care to obtain such prescriptions. The act also includes hydrocodone combination products as schedule II controlled substances and removes dihydrocodeinone from the schedule III controlled substance list.

Dyslexia

Sen. Mrvan helped craft HEA 1108 that will require the Department of Education to develop a teacher training program to properly identify a student who is not progressing at a normal rate in reading lessons and that may need to be evaluated for a learning disability such as dyslexia. According to the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana, approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population have dyslexia. If the learning disability is discovered early and the appropriate training is provided, a student can overcome the learning disability and excel in their studies.

Obstructions at railroad-highway grade crossings

Sen. Mrvan co-authored SEA 27 to impose a minimum fee of $200 for blocking a railroad-highway grade crossing. All funds from blockades will be collected as judgments in the industrial rail service fund. The law also assigns an interim study committee for the 2015 interim period to discuss blocked railroad grade crossings.

Invasive species council

The Indiana Invasive Species Council (IISC) was established by the state legislature to enhance the ability of government agencies to detect, prevent, monitor and manage new and long established invasions, as well as increase public awareness about these growing threats. Sen. Mrvan sponsored HEA 1501 to extend the expiration date of the IISC from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2023.

Sen. Mrvan represents Indiana Senate District 1 which includes portions of Lake County. District 1 communities include Hammond, Munster, Highland, Dyer, Schererville and Griffith as well as two precincts in Crown Point. For more information on Sen. Mrvan his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S1.

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