Bartels: Supporting those who protect our community

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Friday, February 1, 2019 4:00 pm

Indiana is home to some of the most hardworking and dedicated military service members and public safety officers. Legislation I’m working on would give those who protect our communities the benefits they deserve and address some of the issues they face while serving Hoosiers.

Due to their service, military families on average are relocated every two to three years, which impacts their children. I am proposing a new law to help college-aged children in military families. Under my proposal, a student enrolled in an Indiana college or university would still be eligible for the resident tuition rate even if their parent is assigned to duty outside of the state.

In most cases, to be eligible for in-state tuition, a student’s parent must reside in Indiana for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of classes each term. With the difference between resident and non-resident tuition costs reaching nearly $25,000 a year, these students could have significant savings.

Volunteer firefighters also play a vital role in protecting our communities, especially in rural areas that depend on them to respond to emergencies. To incentivize more individuals to join and stay with these departments, I co-authored a bill that would help volunteer firefighters have more money when retiring. Under this legislation, political subdivisions could contribute to volunteers’ public employee contribution plans. The longer a volunteer stays with the department, the more robust their individual retirement account could be due to these contributions.

Another proposal I co-authored would provide educational opportunities for reserve law enforcement officers. Reserve officers could choose to continue their public safety training and education while serving their communities. The continuing law enforcement education courses would address public safety issues, like felony and misdemeanor arrests, emergency assistance to victims of abuse, and assessing endangered children and adults.

As we develop policies on behalf of our military service members and public safety officers, we must also incentivize the next generation to serve their communities, state and nation.

As always, your feedback and input is critical for me to best represent our area. As these proposals go through the legislative process, please reach out 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.

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