Bartels: Providing new opportunities, benefits to Hoosiers

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Friday, January 18, 2019 2:17 pm

The 2019 legislative session is in full swing, and I am working on legislation that addresses issues both statewide and in our community. This year, I am spearheading a number of proposals that include efforts to provide more educational opportunities to students, support Hoosier veterans and provide a tax incentive to public safety volunteers.

Ensuring Hoosiers have opportunities for quality education is always a top priority, and I will continue to support local students, educators and schools. To better equip students with the skills and resources necessary to meet the changing needs of employers, I authored legislation to improve vocational education by implementing an additive manufacturing pilot program. Additive manufacturing focuses on the technologies used to produce three-dimensional objects layer by layer, also known as 3D printing. Through the pilot program, students could earn industry certificates and credentials, and schools could receive grant funding to purchase the needed equipment.

This session, I will also work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to increase benefits for Hoosier veterans. To help those who served our country in the military, I co-authored a bill to increase the tax deduction on military income for Hoosier veterans. Thousands of Indiana veterans risked their lives to protect ours, and this change would leave more of their hard-earned benefits in their pockets. With another proposal I am leading, disabled veteran license plates could be personalized with the emblem indicating a person’s branch of service.

To improve retention rates at rural volunteer fire departments and law enforcement departments throughout Indiana, I also proposed a tax credit for those volunteering to serve our state. Volunteer firefighters and police reserve officers are essential to protecting our communities, especially in rural areas where they are often the closest responders in an emergency. Providing a tax credit of $1,000 for volunteer firefighters and police reserve officers across the state would help make up for the free time they dedicate to serving communities.

As always, your feedback and input is critical for me to best represent our area. As these proposals go through the legislative process, please let me know your thoughts and questions by emailing h74@iga.in.gov or calling 317-232-9802. I encourage you to make your voice heard and help your government work for you.

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State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74, which

includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.