STATEHOUSE- Since the close of the last year's session of the General Assembly, Mishawaka has been hit hard with tragedy as a result of drivers who were under the influence of controlled substances.
Last summer, Shianna and Shayla Aston, ages 4 and 6, were killed by a driver who had metabolized marijuana in his bloodstream at the time of the accident, but was sentenced to only ten days in prison for a Class C misdemeanor.
Now, the Mishawaka community is reeling yet again with the death of a police officer and K-9 killed by a man who was a habitual substance offender.
In response, State Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Jimtown) wants the state to get tough on controlled substance abusers and habitual offenders.
House Bill (HB) 1051, which Rep. Walorski introduced in 2009 and has re-introduced for this year, would classify ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as Schedule V controlled substances.
Rep. Walorski has also filed HB1215, "Shianna and Shayla's Bill", which brings the penalties for driving under the influence of controlled substances in line with the penalties for driving drunk.
"We can't just rely on billboards to coax people away from reliance on controlled substances," said Rep. Walorski. "Lawmakers and law enforcement officials have got to work together to crack down on offenders so that tragedies like these stop happening. This is why I am working with my colleagues at the Statehouse on tougher controlled substance laws and laws targeting drivers who abuse those substances."
Protecting Hoosiers from tragedies like these are critical on Rep. Walorski's list of priorities this year.
HB 1097, the Halloween Safety Bill would make it a Class D felony for an offender against children to knowingly or intentionally offer-or appear to offer-candy or other items to trick or treaters. If passed, it would bring Indiana in line with current Michigan law.
To track these and other bills being considered in 2010 General Assembly, visit http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/.
Rep. Walorski can be reached by phone at 1-800-382-9841 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.