INDIANAPOLIS- State Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) proposed various bills during the recently adjourned legislative session that were approved by the General Assembly and are expected to be signed into law by the governor. Most new laws will become effective July 1, 2014. These proposals include topics regarding mental health and addiction, child safety, and alcohol permits.
According to research conducted by Brown University, only 1 in 3 state prisoners and 1 in 6 jail inmates with a mental health problem receive treatment since being incarcerated, and three quarters of prison and local jail inmates who were diagnosed with a mental health problem also meet the criteria for substance dependence. Taylor authored Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 235 which will require community corrections programs to use evidence based services, programs, and practice in order to reduce the risk of relapse for persons with mental health problems or substance addiction. This initiative will establish eligibility and treatment criteria for the award of certain grants by the Department of Correction and requires any person providing mental health and substance use treatment services be certified by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction. Additionally, the act provides for the establishment of a three year Marion County pilot program to offer participation in a treatment program as an alternative to incarceration. A final report from the Marion Superior Court will be due on October 1, 2015 including the cost savings, opportunities for replication, and recidivism rates for persons in the program.
SEA 222, co-authored by Taylor, addresses student athlete concussions. The act stipulates that a high school student athlete who has been removed from play because of a suspected concussion or head injury may not return to play until at least 24 hours have passed since the incident. In addition, beginning July 1, 2014, the act requires football coaches and assistant football coaches who are coaching individuals less than 20 years of age to complete a course concerning player safety and concussions at least once during a two year period. SEA 222 also provides civil immunity for football coaches in certain circumstances.
HEA 1036, sponsored by Taylor, includes tougher regulations for all child care facilities that receive tax dollars through the federal Child Care and Development Fund. The bill targets more than 1,200 unlicensed day care centers in the state including church-run day cares and other unlicensed facilities. Among new requirements included in HEA 1036 are limits on the number of children these day care centers can serve, and how many children one caregiver can oversee. A provision requiring that children be provided with nutritional meals, snacks, access to drinking water and daily activities is included in the legislation. Another provision requires mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse. In addition, the legislation requires caregivers to receive at least 12 hours of continuing education annually. An investigation conducted by the Indianapolis Star found that since 2009 at least 31 children have died in Indiana day care facilities. Twenty-one of those deaths occurred in unlicensed or illegal day cares.
Certification training would not be held personally liable for athletes who suffer from this type of injury.
House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1358, co-sponsored by Taylor, extends the expiration date for the Office of Minority Health from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2016. Established in 1991, the Office of Minority Health funds minority health programs and expands, develops, and implements community awareness of minority health problems. The office is also in charge of conducting research within minority populations as well as monitoring minority health progress.
Taylor co-authored SEA 339, which allows for the sale of alcohol during the Indiana State Fair. Lawmakers removed a 67 year ban on alcohol sales during the fair to provide opportunities for Indiana-based breweries and wineries to showcase their products during the annual event. Even though the ban was enacted in 1946, alcohol is permitted to be sold at other events held at the fairgrounds. This bill hopes to help boost interest in the 82 breweries and more than 80 wineries in the Hoosier state. Indiana is the only state that bans alcohol during its state fair. This act has already been signed into law by the governor.
Taylor represents Senate District 33 which includes portions of Wayne, Pike, Washington and Center townships in Marion County. For more information on Sen. Taylor, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/s33.