This session, I am authoring a number of bills aimed at helping Hoosiers. I will be focusing on addressing health issues, solving issues in our foster care system, and protecting our immigrant residents. Here are the highlights of some of the things I hope to accomplish:
Our youngest Hoosiers are at the most risk when it comes to lead poisoning. There is little incentive under state law to reduce lead poisoning in the state. In Indiana, the problem is mainly caused by deteriorating lead-based paint in old homes. I will be proposing legislation that requires the Indiana State Department of Health to take action to reduce lead poisoning in Indiana.
RESIDENT TUITION RATE FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS
A large percentage of undocumented students have either graduated from a public high school or obtained a GED. It is inconsistent to provide these students with an education that ends at their high school graduation. This is why I am authoring legislation that would grant undocumented students in-state tuition rates. By receiving in-state tuition, we can hope to incentivize these students to complete high school, attend college, and eventually be in a position to positively contribute to our state’s society and economy. Every person that wishes to call Indiana their home and has a desire to better themselves with the goal of becoming active, contributing members of our community should have the same opportunities as you and I.
INCREASING FOSTER PARENT ADOPTION SUBSIDIES
After the Department of Children Services (DCS) report that was released earlier this year, I knew we needed legislative changes to improve the agency’s effectiveness for our most vulnerable children. Many foster parents testified at the interim committee last summer indicating a great need for more funds and resources to care for their foster children. This is why I am introducing a bill that would increase the adoption subsidy given to Indiana foster parents.
TRAUMA INFORMED CARE TRAINING FOR DCS EMPLOYEES
Trauma informed care is an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. People who have been traumatized need support and understanding from those around them. Often, trauma survivors can be re-traumatized by well-meaning caregivers and community service providers. Becoming “trauma-informed” means recognizing that people often have many different types of trauma in their lives. Several state statutes require trauma-informed training in various sectors, and I want Indiana to join these states with my bill that would provide this necessary training for our DCS workers.
COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT
My bill will provide a cost of living adjustment for Public Employee and Teachers Retirement Fund (PERF) retirees as well as all other affected retirees. The increase will be based on the number of years of service a retiree worked in a PERF or TRF covered pension and the date retired. Our retirees have given their best to our state and local communities. They deserve a retirement that acknowledges their hard work and dedication.
Senator David Niezgodski