(STATEHOUSE) Feb. 24, 2009 - Supporters of the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Children's Home have reason to celebrate today, as a bill to keep the Home open successfully completed one more leg of the legislative process. By a bipartisan vote of 81-17, House Bill 1722 passed third and final reading in the House chamber.
The bill, authored by Rep. Scott Reske (D-Anderson) and co-authored by Reps. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) and Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville), creates a timeline for the Home to increase its attendance, thereby decreasing cost per student.
If successful, the bill also requires approval of the General Assembly to close the Children's Home.
"The Home has way too many success stories for us to give up now," said Rep. Cherry. "The majority of children entering the Home are two to three years behind in their academics. Within two years of attending, they are ahead. The staff and teachers don't give up on these children, so why should we?"
The bill now will move to the Senate for consideration. If HB 1722 successfully completes the legislative process, it goes to Gov. Mitch Daniels, where the fate of the Home will rest upon his signature.
"Truly, this is about the children who attend the Home and their welfare," said Rep. Saunders. "Just because Indiana has the only remaining home of this kind doesn't mean ours isn't working.
"If we can't turn this place around within the timeline outlined in this bill, I won't be back at this podium in support of keeping the Home open. But this home is a gem, and we must give it this chance to be better advertised and more efficient."
Reps. Cherry and Saunders can be contacted by calling toll-free at 1-800-382-9841 or by writing to the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.