Mahan: Focusing on top priorities

Posted by: Nick Seifer  | Friday, February 9, 2018 12:30 pm

The 2018 legislative session recently reached its halfway point, with Senate bills moving to the House for consideration and House bills crossing over to the Senate. House Republicans made great progress on our top priorities, including addressing K-12 funding, strengthening Indiana’s workforce and attacking the opioid epidemic.

Indiana currently devotes over half its general fund budget to K-12 education, spending $7 billion annually in tuition support for local K-12 public schools. This year, our public schools faced an enrollment increase of more than 6,000 students. House Bill 1001 addresses this surge in enrollment by adding at least $16 million to K-12 school funding from the state’s tuition reserve fund.

Indiana‘s welcoming business climate is resulting in a thriving economy, and by strengthening our workforce programs, we can build off this momentum. Indiana’s workforce development system currently spends roughly $1 billion per year through 30 different programs across nine state agencies. House Bill 1002 would reorganize the state’s sprawling workforce development system using return-on-investment metrics to evaluate areas in need of improvement. Our goal is to ensure taxpayer dollars are being directed into successful workforce programs that support individuals looking to skill-up and connect them with employers.

Another priority this session is fighting the opioid epidemic, and House Republicans are using a proactive, evidence-based approach. House Bill 1006 would authorize the establishment of a pilot program providing state-supported drug treatment for individuals who have been charged with a misdemeanor. Currently, Indiana’s statewide Recovery Works program is only available for offenders charged with or convicted of a felony. However, if we can help those who have committed a misdemeanor get addiction treatment services sooner, maybe we can prevent their slide toward more self-destructive behaviors and dangerous crimes.

Although 18 opioid treatment centers are currently operating throughout Indiana, many Hoosiers live long distances from these facilities. Proposed legislation would result in nine additional opioid treatment centers opening in Indiana, better ensuring every Hoosier is within an hour drive of professional help.

In addition to these legislative priorities, I am working to help local first responders who need to administer life-saving epinephrine in a safe, more cost effective manner. Epinephrine is used by paramedics in response to life-threatening situations caused by asthma or severe allergic reactions. The most common auto-injectable form of epinephrine, the EpiPen, costs anywhere from $360 to $600 per dose and can put a financial burden on local emergency service budgets. Not just expensive, EpiPens have a relatively short shelf life of only 18 months, which is among the shortest in the drug industry.

House Bill 1180 would give EMTs the flexibility and training to administer epinephrine through pre-loaded syringes, which is considerably less expensive and just as effective. This could reduce local emergency service spending on epinephrine from $600 per dose to just $10 per dose. Passed by the House unanimously, my bill can now be considered by the Senate.

As we move toward the second half of session, it is imperative we continue communicating in order to best meet the needs of our state and community. To share your thoughts on these and other issues, please contact me by email at h31@iga.in.gov or by calling 317-234-9499. I encourage you to subscribe to my e-newsletter providing email updates at www.in.gov/h31. To watch hearings and debates online, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) represents House District 31,

which includes portions of Delaware, Grant and Wells counties.

 

A high-resolution photo of Mahan can be downloaded by clicking here.