INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday, State Senator Earline Rogers (D-Gary) voted to approve a proposal that would require the Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) to designate a coordinator for the Hoosier Women Veteran’s program. Senate Bill (SB) 424, co-authored by Sen. Rogers, was unanimously approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs and the Military committee and will now move to the Senate floor to be considered by the full Senate.
“Indiana is one of only a handful of states that have not yet established a women veteran’s coordinator to assist with the gender specific needs of our state’s female veterans,” said Sen. Rogers. “The need is apparent; Indiana has over 30,000 female veterans, 20 percent of all new recruits in the U.S. Armed Forces are women, and it is predicted that by 2018, ten percent of the state’s entire veteran population will be women.”
The proposal from last session, SEA 354, established the program to provide information and services specific to Indiana’s growing population of female veterans. Over 33,000 women veterans currently reside in Indiana, with that number estimated to grow as more women retire from military service. Hoosier women veterans have served in every war period, including World War II, and 1,087 of them are military retirees. There are 2,335 women on active duty not including those serving in the Indiana National Guard or who are members of a Reserve unit.
Last year’s proposal was weakened during the House of Representatives’ committee process and excluded language allocating new funds to IDVA to fund the women veterans’ coordinator position until funds could be allocated in a budget session. As of January 12, 2015, Laura McKee was appointed by Governor Pence to serve as the state’s women’s coordinator. Her first day will be January 26, 2015.
Sen. Rogers represents Indiana Senate District 3 which encompasses portions of Lake County. District 3 communities include Gary, Lake Station, New Chicago, Hobart, Ainsworth, Merrillville and Crown Point. For more information on Sen. Rogers, her legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/s3.