May: Supporting schools and addressing health care costs among our top priorities for 2020 legislative session

Posted by: Wade Coggeshall  | Tuesday, January 7, 2020

A new year always starts with a new legislative session in Indiana. For the next 10 weeks, I will work with fellow lawmakers on legislation to positively impact the lives of Hoosiers across the state.

Recently, House Republicans released our agenda of top priorities for this session, including supporting students, teachers and schools, driving down health care costs, reducing youth smoking and vaping, and cutting red tape and promoting fiscal responsibility.

In regards to schools, we want to hold teachers and school corporations harmless from the latest ILEARN test results. Last spring was the first time schools administered the test. Legislation has been filed to keep those scores from negatively affecting teachers and schools so they have time to adapt to the test, while also giving schools the authority to determine how test scores impact teacher performance evaluations.

House Republicans also want to provide more flexibility in teacher training and licensing requirements. We have a bill for the State Board of Education to streamline or merge teacher training requirements, or recommend their removal. Workforce-related training requirements, one of the four options for a teacher license, would be optional instead of mandatory. Schools could also apply for waivers from various state laws and regulations.

Health care costs continue to impact many Hoosiers. We have legislation to stop unexpected out-of-network billing for medical care, which happens when health care providers charge out-of-network rates at facilities that are in-network under a patient’s insurance. Hoosiers could also request cost estimates for non-emergency medical procedures from health care providers and insurers, and hospitals would share the costs of their services online. That would be in the form of an all-payer claims database managed by an independent third party.

Another priority is aligning Indiana with the new federal law raising the legal age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. Enforcement efforts would be increased to help prevent younger Hoosiers from ever starting a smoking or vaping habit.

Cutting red tape and maintaining fiscal responsibility are always a priority. We have an opportunity to save taxpayers more than $130 million by paying cash for six state university capital projects already approved for debt financing. Doing so would eliminate $21 million in annual bond payments and $137 million in long-term interest payments.

One issue we continually see is out-of-state professionals like architects, engineers and nurses move to Indiana and find their professional licenses are not valid here. A new bill would grant license reciprocity to these professionals, helping to attract more of these skilled workers to our state. Another bill exempts a dependent’s income earned through paid internships or work-based learning programs when determining a family’s eligibility for government benefits.

Track these proposals and others as they move through the legislative process by visiting the Indiana General Assembly’s website at iga.in.gov. Staying connected is also important in order to have a successful and productive legislative session. Please contact me at h65@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9981 for any questions or comments on legislation or other issues.

I will continue to work hard for our community and state. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

-30-

State Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford) represents House District 65, which includes all of
Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.