Drawing close to the 2015 legislative session

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Friday, April 17, 2015

With end of session drawing near, there are still many bills going through the legislative process and making their way to the governor’s desk. Many important pieces of legislation like the Indiana budget requires extensive discussion and debate and will not be finalized until the very end of our time here.

There are many factors to consider when crafting the state’s spending and savings plan for the next two years. Overall, our goal is to pass an honestly balanced budget with no tax increases that funds our state’s priorities, mainly education and public safety. While the budget includes additional funding for several public safety initiatives, I was also proud to work on several bills this session towards this goal.

Currently, Senate Bill (SB) 532, which works to combat human trafficking, is making its way through this process. As House sponsor, SB 532 would establish the Human Trafficking Prevention and Victim Assistance Fund by utilizing funds acquired from crimes involving human trafficking. Creating this fund will not only help provide victims of human trafficking with specialized services, but also works to reduce the amount of victims trafficked in Indiana.

House Bill 1196, which I authored, is headed to the governor for signing. HB 1196 focuses on delinquent child dual determination and would increase coordination between the Department of Child Services, the Department of Corrections and the county probation department.

For example, if a child is picked up by law enforcement, under this bill, the intake officer will now be able to run an assessment and determine if a child is in need of services and request they are handled by the appropriate department. This bill allows the courts to better determine why a child commits certain crimes in an effort to reduce those underlying causes and reduce recidivism among child delinquents.

Many hours of testimony, research and hard work went into each piece of legislation, and my hope is that a compromise can be reached before our time runs out. After a final version is presented and if they pass both chambers, they will then go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Each bill was crafted with the mindset of improving Indiana, and with two weeks of session left, I will continue to advocate and make decisions that improve our community for local families. I look forward to seeing positive changes in Indiana and will continue to put your issues first.

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Rep. McNamara (R-Mount Vernon) represents portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties. She serves as the Vice Chair of Courts and Criminal Code Committee and is a member of Government and Regulatory Reform Committee, Judiciary Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction Committee.