INDIANAPOLIS—State Senator Richard D. Young, Jr. (D-Milltown) proposed several bills during the recently adjourned legislative session that were approved by the Indiana General Assembly and are expected to be signed into law by the governor. Most new laws become effective July 1, 2014. Sen. Young’s initiatives address a variety of issues, including agriculture, small business and veterans.

Authored by Sen. Young, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 357 provides for the legalization of industrial hemp production in Indiana. Subject to federal approval, SEA 357 would authorize the State Seed Commissioner to license the cultivation and production of industrial hemp in Indiana. Although related to marijuana, hemp does not contain the intoxicating qualities of its cousin. During World War II, Indiana was a leader in hemp production when it was used for making rope. Today, hemp is a multipurpose crop that can be used to make food, paper, fuel, beauty products, textiles, building materials, plastics and some medicines. Hemp is stronger and lighter than steel, doesn’t rust, crush or burn. However, it is expensive because it must be imported from other countries. Passage of this bill will allow Indiana to move quickly to promote the growth and marketing of this product. Industrial hemp is also environmentally friendly; its products are 100% biodegradable and the crop is naturally resistant to pests, eliminating the need for pesticides. The act also amended the definition of marijuana to exclude hemp and its products. This is a tremendous opportunity to develop a new agricultural commodity for Indiana that will allow our farmers to grow and profit from industrial hemp as well as to create thousands of new sustainable and well-paying jobs within agriculture, industrial, manufacturing and marketing arenas.

Sen. Young co-authored SEA 245, a new act which authorizes schools to refill auto-injectable prescriptions of epinephrine and store the drug on site. The act also allows school nurses to administer the auto-injectable epinephrine to students, visitors and school personnel, if the individual is showing signs of anaphylaxis and has no prescription available. The measure grants the same rights to school personnel, if they have completed training. In addition, the act allows all personnel, school nurses, pharmacists and those who administer the training to be granted immunity from any civil damages, if they follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the proper proceedings outlined under the act.

SEA 354 establishes the Hoosier Women Veterans Program under the Indiana Department of Veteran Affairs (IDVA) to address the issues and needs of Hoosier women currently serving, or who have formerly served in the Armed Forces or the National Guard. Under the act co-authored by Sen. Young, a coordinator will be appointed to administer the implementation and management of benefits for the state’s female veterans. IDVA will oversee the program and fund its budget. The Hoosier Women Veterans Program will also be responsible for connecting participants with services and benefits offered at the state and federal level. In addition, the act authorizes county executives to appoint a local service officer for a four-year term to serve veterans on the county level.

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1039 was co-sponsored by Sen. Young and establishes the Indiana Grown Commission, an organization dedicated to marketing the state’s agriculture industry and connecting it with local businesses that sell local agricultural products. The commission will be composed of members of the agriculture industry, the state’s largest general farming organization, representatives from retailers, farmers’ markets and restaurants that sell Indiana-grown products, agricultural marketing experts and the Dean of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture. The Indiana Grown Commission will be tasked with marketing and promoting Indiana-grown products and materials to other state businesses and residents. The commission will also be responsible for submitting an annual report to the Indiana General Assembly regarding any updates and recommendations for future legislation.

HEA 1332 will establish the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Indiana. Sen. Young co-sponsored the act, which combines the Small Business Development Center, the Small Business Ombudsman, and the Young Entrepreneurs Program with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and places these offices under the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The office will be responsible for advancing small business in the state and maintaining a network of available local, state, and federal resources. The new act also calls for a director to oversee the office, develop programs to stimulate growth, and administer the youth entrepreneurial program. The office will operate under the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Sen. Young co-sponsored HEA 1350 , legislation that increases the time period in which a distributor must test seeds before distributing them. Under the act, a person cannot distribute agricultural or vegetable seeds if a test for the percentage of germination has not taken place at least 12 months prior to the distribution. Before the act, the time period required only nine months before distribution.

Sen. Young represents Senate District 47 which encompasses portions of Crawford, Dubois, Harrison, Orange, Perry and Washington counties. For more information on Sen. Young, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business, call 1-800-382-9467 or visit