INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana General Assembly is underway and State Senator David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) has authored a number of initiatives focusing on issues related to student loan assistance, Indiana divestment from states that sponsor terror and a ban on coal tar products.

Student loan assistance

Student loan debt has been steadily increasing and the number of students entering fields such as social work, teaching and nursing has been decreasing in Indiana. Sen. Niezgodski has authored Senate Bill (SB) 290, which would provide full-time employees in these fields an annual grant of $2,500 to be applied to student loans.

Divestment from states that sponsor terror

Under SB 149, the decision to withdraw funds and investments from a certain state would be made by the Secretary of State rather than the President, Congress and the Secretary of State, as is current practice. Sen. Niezgodski passed a similar bill as a State Representative which divested Indiana’s pension fund from terror sponsored states.

Ban on sale or use of coal tar pavement products

Coal tar is considered to be a human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program, yet is often a component of driveway sealants used across the state. SB 150 would protect the health of Hoosiers and the environment by banning the sale and application of coal tar to pavement, except as required for purposes of research.

Regulation of naturopathic physicians

To hold down the ever-rising costs of healthcare and provide an additional means of healthcare for Hoosiers, Sen. Niezgodski authored SB 508 which would provide for licensure of practitioners of naturopathic medicine.

Grants from disaster relief fund

The current maximum amount that an individual may receive from the State Disaster Relief Fund for damages to a residence is $5,000. SB 547 would increase this grant to $10,000 helping more Hoosiers get back on their feet when disaster strikes.