From addressing health care costs to considering important education matters, we are busy at the Statehouse working to serve Hoosiers across Indiana. During the second week of the legislative session, we listened to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s State of the State Address, which touted the many economic success stories Indiana has had over the past year. One of those includes Chrysler-Fiat’s plan to invest $400 million at its Kokomo location, which will be beneficial to our community as well since economic development is a regional effort. We also learned more about the governor’s other agenda items he is asking the General Assembly to approve. I look forward to continuing to work with him on improving the lives of the people of Indiana.
One of the main issues we are tackling this session is health care. Recently, I filed House Bill 1110, which would increase health care access in shortage areas. We are finding in both rural and urban parts of the state, some Hoosiers are finding it hard to get care. Some places are in need of certain types of physicians, nurses, optometrists, dentists and other health providers. I also hear from our local school administrators that finding speech-language pathologists can be difficult. That’s why many health professions are covered in this bill, which creates a student loan repayment program for those providers who work in shortage areas.
The Health Workforce Council, established by this legislation, would identify shortage regions and deploy funds to those areas to help provide incentives for individuals to practice in areas where they are most needed. To help pay for this, the legislation would call for increasing license renewal fees for the covered professions by a maximum of $10 per year. I’m hopeful this bill will receive a hearing, but if it doesn’t due to the fast pace of this session, I will continue to work on this issue during the 2021 session. Access to care is important to overall health, and we have to make sure it is available in all corners of Indiana.
Another piece of legislation I filed is House Bill 1404, which would give spouses and children of Hoosier veterans who are disabled the opportunity to purchase a Golden Hoosier Passport to experience our state parks at a reduced price. It was brought to my attention the passport can only be used if the disabled veteran is present. Under the proposed legislation, the family would also be able to use this resource to enjoy our beautiful state parks regardless of whether the veteran can attend.
While I spend much of the beginning of the year at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, it is always nice to see constituents from House District 23 who come visit and offer their input. This week, I met with friends from the Miami and Cass County Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The work they do to conserve our natural resources is crucial for our local farmers to have productive land and for our community to have clean water for generations to come.
The 2020 legislative session is moving fast, and I’ll provide more updates for you next week on the progress of many issues that matter to Hoosiers the most. To help me better serve you as your state representative, feel free to contact me atH23@iga.in.gov with any input you have to offer. As always, it's your state government, so participate in it!
State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) represents House District 23,
which includes portions of Cass, Fulton and Miami counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.