INDIANAPOLIS –The Indiana General Assembly is underway and State Senator Lonnie M. Randolph (D-East Chicago) has authored a number of initiatives focusing on issues related to paid family leave, East Chicago schools and media production tax credits.
Paid family leave
Sen. Randolph has proposed Senate Bill (SB) 3 urging the General Assembly to conduct an in-depth study of paid family leave programs to determine the best policy option for Indiana. Currently, Hoosier workers do not have a state mandated paid family leave program and many Hoosier families lack financial reserves to take unpaid time off due to family emergencies like the birth of a child or surgery recovery.
School city of East Chicago fiscal matters
The lead crisis in East Chicago has taken a financial toll on the region, and its public schools are no exception. Sen. Randolph has proposed SB 148 which would provide a $2.8 million subsidy to pay off a loan made to the East Chicago school corporation from the school disaster loan fund. The proposal would also require the Department of Education to provide additional funding of $2.2 million to the school corporation to help combat the lease payments owed for Carrie Gosch Elementary School.
Media production expenditure tax credit
In an effort to draw film production to the Hoosier state, Sen. Randolph proposed SB 7 to reestablish the tax credit offered for media production expenditures in Indiana which expired in 2012. In order to qualify for the tax credit, expenditures would have to range from $50,000 to $6 million. The amount of credit would be determined by the location of the production and its cost.
Limits on school suspensions and expulsions
Sen. Randolph proposed SB 274 to require schools to determine whether suspending or expelling a student is the best consequence for poor behavior. The behavior exhibited would have to interfere with the school day, disrupt the learning environment, or risk injury to school personnel to result in suspension or expulsion. Under the proposal, the rationale determined by the school to suspend or expel the student would have to be written out in a statement to the parents.
End of life options
To assist individuals who are suffering from a terminal illness, Sen. Randolph proposed SB 273 to allow certain individuals to make a written request to a physician to end their life. Under the proposal, both the physician and the patient must meet specified requirements and the individual would be allowed to self-administer the medication.
Death sentence elimination
Sen. Randolph authored SB 146 to abolish the death penalty and convert an individual’s death sentence to a life of imprisonment without parole. The proposal would also allow a defendant charged with murder for which the state seeks a sentence of life imprisonment to file a petition stating they have an intellectual disability. If the defendant is determined to have an intellectual disability, the individual would be sentenced only to a fixed term of imprisonment under the proposal.
Require adoption subsidy payments
Sen. Randolph proposed SB 145 which would require the Department of Child Services to enter into an agreement with each adoptive parent of a child with special needs. Under the proposal, each parent would be eligible to provide an adoption subsidy for the child and allocate funds to the Adoption Assistance Account to make subsidy payments. The proposal would also give priority funding to new adoption subsidy agreements for children who or were wards of the department.
Property and casualty insurance claim payment
Currently, insurers reserve the right to deny coverage to clients with property and casualty insurance who were unaware of an act that was intentionally done to them. Sen. Randolph has proposed SB 6 which would prohibit an insurer from denying coverage from these individuals.
Prosecutorial consent with expungements
SB 21 would require a prosecuting attorney to file objections to an expungement petition with the court and serve them to the petitioner. Under the proposal, the court would have to set a hearing for the objections if those objections have just cause.
Operation of dashboard cameras
To better protect and serve Hoosiers, Sen. Randolph proposed SB 4 which would require state and local law enforcement agencies to install audiovisual recording systems on the dashboard of patrol cars. The legislation would require all agencies to implement a policy regarding the use of the system in order to create a uniform standard for all agencies.
State Park admission for disabled veterans
Currently, disabled veterans are charged a fee for admission into state parks. Sen. Randolph has proposed SB 142 to allow disabled veterans to obtain a Golden Hoosier Passport. The pass would allow disabled veterans and their passenger’s unlimited admission to state parks and other Department of Natural Resources properties