INDIANAPOLIS- State Senator Lonnie M. Randolph (D- East Chicago) proposed several initiatives that were approved by the General Assembly during the recently adjourned legislative session and are expected to be signed into law by the governor. These proposals include topics regarding veterans, military families, and high school students. Most new laws become effective July 1, 2014.
Sen. Randolph co-authored legislation that has already been signed into law,Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 352, which gives priority to qualified service members and their dependents if they have not yet received grants through the Military Family Relief Fund (MFRF). MFRF provides assistance with food, shelter, medical services, utilities, child care, education, employment, and other essential expenses that are sometimes difficult for service members or their families to afford. SEA 352 also eliminates the provision that limits grant eligibility to three years after their active-duty service ends. Instead, the State Budget Agency will set a maximum dollar amount available to be dispersed between MFRF grants. In order to qualify for these grants, a military member must be an Indiana resident, a member of the Armed Forces or National Guard, and have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Another veteran initiative co-authored by Sen. Randolph, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 180 establishes the Indiana Veteran Recovery Program to provide certain services for veterans who have traumatic brain injuries or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The measure establishes the Veterans Disability Clinic Fund to provide funding for grants to qualified law schools that maintain a veterans’ disability clinic. In addition, SEA 180 requires the state Department of Health to study and report findings and recommendations to the Legislative Council not later than September 1, 2014, concerning implementation of a program for the treatment of veterans who have traumatic brain injury or suffer from PTSD.
Sen. Randolph co-authored SEA 222 increases requirements for youth and high school football coaches. Under this act, coaches will be required to take a concussion awareness course once every two years to become certified on how to better care for athletes who suffer concussion accidents. This initiative also requires a 24-hour waiting period before an athlete who has suffered a concussion or other head injury can return to play. Additionally, the measure stipulates that coaches who complete the required certification training would not be held personally liable for athletes who suffer from this type of injury.
Another act co-authored by Sen. Randolph, SEA 227, provides legal protection for anyone under age 21 who calls 911 to report a medical emergency that involves alcohol, a possible drug overdose or a sexual assault. Aimed at protecting lives, SB 227 is an expansion of legislation enacted in 2012 referred to as the Lifeline Law, which provides immunity to those who call 911 to report an alcohol-related medical emergency, such as alcohol poisoning. SB 227 provides that a person is immune from arrest or prosecution for certain alcohol offenses if the arrest or prosecution is due to the person reporting a medical emergency, being the victim of a sex offense or witnessing and reporting what the person believes to be a crime. The bill includes provisions to allow first responders and other emergency professionals on the scene to administer an overdose intervention drug to a person suffering an overdose. Other portions of the bill provide for several studies and evaluations to be conducted on crimes of sexual and domestic violence.
Sen. Randolph also co-authored SEA 329, which requires home inspections to include the inspection of basements, crawl and attic spaces. Additionally, a home inspector must provide a statement indicating the existence of a carbon monoxide detector in the home. This proposal requires a written agreement between the homeowner and the inspector prior to the examination of the home.
Sen. Randolph represents Indiana Senate District 2 which encompasses portions of Lake County, including the communities of East Chicago, Whiting, and portions of Gary, Griffith, Hammond, Hobart and Merrillville.
For more information on Sen. Randolph, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/s2.