[r22] Working to clean up Indiana’s communities

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Monday, March 3, 2014

The health and safety of families in Indiana has been one of my top priorities since I was elected to office. When looking at the different bills that the House has passed, one that I feel especially passionate about is House Bill 1141, which I co-authored. This piece of legislation focuses on methamphetamine and what legislators here at the Statehouse can do to begin cleaning up all that has been left in the wake of this poisonous drug. 

Too many Hoosier communities are ravaged by meth, which tears families apart, endangers the health and safety of children, impoverishes neighborhoods, diminishes school districts, increases criminal activities and much more. Indiana is ranked third in the nation for the incredibly high amount of lab seizures, a ranking that is unacceptable to me as well as many of my fellow legislators. Within Elkhart and Kosciusko counties, I have seen the destruction from meth and the deteriorative effect it can have on a community. 

My intention with HB 1141 is to create healthier, safer communities in Indiana.

This bill would enable the Indiana State Police to create a database that lists the different properties that have been affected by methamphetamine. Houses that have been both decontaminated and emptied would be included on this list as well. Additionally, the ISP would be able to keep a second list containing all properties that have been previously associated with the production of meth, even if it has already been taken off the public list.

Right now it is Indiana law that after a meth bust is made the police are required to directly contact the Indiana Department of Health who will oversee the evacuation and decontamination of the home. Unfortunately, this process can be very expensive, oftentimes with costs going well into the thousands to insure that the home isn’t a health risk to the surrounding people and properties. Additionally, many times a blighted property will be vacant for months or even years, lowering property values and depreciating entire communities.

Our intention with HB 1141 is for families that are looking to buy a house to be able to see, within the buyer’s agreement, if that house has ever been in contact with the creation of methamphetamine. Buyers would also be able to see if the home has been properly decontaminated, and it would be required that the real estate commission obligates owners into disclosing if a house has ever been involved in the creation of meth. I want to protect our families and children from those who don’t seem to care. 

I fully understand that this bill doesn’t get at the root evil of meth production and preventing it from being created. Over the last couple of years, we have put laws on the books to track and limit the amount of pseudoephedrine, a critical ingredient in meth which is also common in cold medicine, that can be bought by consumers. HB 1141 is a positive step in the right direction to inform house buyers of a properties complete history. I will continue to work to see this bill through to enactment and address the larger meth issue with common sense solutions that don’t unduly burden law-abiding citizens.