As your state representative, it is my priority to keep you informed about what is happening at the Statehouse and listen to what you believe needs to be done to improve our community. I take your comments and concerns very seriously, and I am working diligently to support our local EMTs, strengthen penalties for drug dealers and crack down on animal cruelty.
An idea from the Grant County Emergency Medical Technicians led me to author House Bill 1180. This legislation would require the Emergency Medical Services Commission to develop training on how to pre-fill syringes and administer epinephrine.
EMTs currently use auto-injectable epinephrine devices, such as an EpiPen, to treat asthma attacks and severe allergic reactions. These devices are beneficial and save lives, but are very expensive and range anywhere from $360 to $600 each.
Many of these devices are wasted because they expire in only 18 months, which is among the shortest in the drug industry. This has a significant impact on Grant County’s Emergency Medical Services budget. However, if epinephrine is administered through a pre-loaded syringe, the cost of each dosage would be around $6 to $10.
Our state is suffering an opioid epidemic. In 2016, 1,518 Hoosiers died as a result of drug overdoses and, on average, 100 Hoosiers each month die from opioid overdoses.
House Bill 1359 would increase penalties for those who manufacture or deal certain controlled substances when it results in the death of the user. If the substance is cocaine, methamphetamine or other drugs such as heroin, oxycodone and ketamine, the charge would be a Level 1 felony. Drugs such as zanax, valium and synthetic drugs would result in a Level 2 felony, and a Level 3 felony for drugs such as codeine.
Another piece of legislation I have been working on would increase penalties for certain animal cruelty crimes. This legislation would rightfully hold people accountable for the proper care and shelter they must provide their domestic animals.
Increasing the punishment for these crimes may deter tragedies. This legislation would increase the penalty from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony for someone who recklessly, knowingly or intentionally tethers a dog under certain circumstances such as frigid temperatures. It would also increase felony penalties for those who strike and injure both service dogs and search-and-rescue dogs.
These are all important issues that need to be addressed on behalf of our community. To stay informed on the work of the General Assembly, read about proposals for new laws and watch legislative proceedings, visit iga.in.gov.
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.