This week, House lawmakers finished up regular committee work and we are now shifting focus to sending remaining bills back to the Senate. Several proposals the legislature is working on could have a big impact in our community.
In the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee, I supported Senate Bill 460, which would support and strengthen rural broadband. The program would prioritize projects that extend this service to areas with little to no internet connection. It would also establish the Rural Broadband Fund to improve connections and meet the new standards. The bill includes other steps toward the development of internet services, which is an important issue for our community. The federal government is also helping fund rural broadband initiatives in addition to several private companies and rural electric membership cooperatives working to develop a stronger broadband infrastructure in these communities. I hope to see continued investment in this area and feel this legislation is a good start.
I also co-authored House Enrolled Act 1175, which recently passed through both the House and Senate and is being considered by the governor. This proposal allows qualified mental health counselors, clinical addiction counselors, and marriage and family therapists to supervise treatment plans for outpatient mental health or substance abuse services. Currently, only psychologists or psychiatrists can provide this service. This could expand access to care and the speed of care for those in need, especially in rural areas where it can sometimes be tough to recruit those types of physicians.
A member of our local military instillation, Grissom Regional Defense Alliance, could soon be one of the nine members of a new defense commission. I am co-sponsoring Senate Bill 459, which would establish the Indiana Defense Task Force. This task force would study a variety of issues such as expanding military missions at our installations, cooperation with the surrounding communities and identifying opportunities to collaborate with private businesses to support the bases. I look forward to Grissom being included on this important effort.
If you have questions or comments about pending legislation, especially throughout the busy final weeks of session, please contact me at 317-232-9620 or H23@iga.in.gov. Remember, 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.
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