McNamara: Concentrating on public safety

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Thursday, January 21, 2016

I have always been proactive about putting our community’s safety first, which is why this session I introduced a variety of bills that focus on protecting the public. I authored two bills in particular, which I believe will have a substantial positive impact on our state and community.

 Human trafficking is the world’s second largest criminal activity. The United States Bureau of Justice statistics reports that between 2008 and 2010 there were 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking in the United States. This is an issue that needs to be taken seriously and handled in an efficient and effective manner.

 House Bill (HB) 1199 would create a harsher punishment for those promoting human trafficking. It requires traffickers, who are arrested and sentenced, to register as sex offenders on the Sex and Violent Offender Registry. This registry is administered by the Indiana Department of Correction and monitored by law enforcement officers in sheriff departments across the state. After serving their time, offenders would be placed in either a community transition program, a community corrections program or probation, and would be required to register as a sex offender for either 10 years or a lifetime.

 Unfortunately, there is a statewide meth epidemic that both our state and federal governments have battled since ephedrine and pseudoephedrine (PSE) were removed from the list of prescription drugs in 1976. As of right now, Indiana has the largest number of reported meth labs in the country. Pseudoephedrine can be found in an array of cold, flu and allergy medications, and is also commonly found in almost all of the meth labs busted in Indiana.

 House Bill 1166 would limit the amount of over-the-counter medicine containing ephedrine or PSE that a pharmacy can sell to a person without a prescription. A person who purchases these medicines beyond the maximum limit containing the two ingredients may still obtain medicines that have ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, but only with a valid prescription.

 Our state has tried to solve the drug epidemic by putting PSE behind the counter, restricting purchases to pharmacies only and limiting the amount a person could buy per day, week and month. These attempts have not adequately reduced the meth issue in our state, and it is time to try alternative methods to remedy the scourge of meth in Indiana. Giving back to our communities and find ways to make Indiana better are some of the reasons I chose to be your state representative.

 Every year we join with the American Cancer Association and wear sneakers in an effort to raise awareness and support for those suffering from this horrific disease. During 2015, approximately 13,420 Indiana residents were expected to die of cancer. This disease affects nearly every one of us in some way, shape or form. The Suits and Sneakers Challenge at the Statehouse gives statewide elected office holders and staff the opportunity to stand by our fellow Hoosiers affected by this disease to let them know that we support them and care about their well-being. 

Indiana is a place where I am proud to call my home, and working as your state representative gives me an opportunity to improve areas that are calling for attention. Your input is invaluable as I navigate my way through session. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me at h76@iga.in.gov or by phone at (317) 232-9816.

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 Rep. McNamara (R-Evansville) represents portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.