[r54] Bill to Keep Children's Home Open Passes House Committee (2/18/2009)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Start Date: 2/18/2009 All Day
End Date: 2/18/2009
 (STATEHOUSE) Feb. 18, 2009 - Students, family members, staff and alumni of the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Children's Home have passed the first hurdle toward keeping the facility open.  By a bipartisan vote of 9-2 in the House Family, Child and Human Affairs Committee, House Bill 1722 is now eligible for second reading on the House floor. 

Rep. Tom Saunders (R-Lewisville), along with Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) and Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg), testified before the committee in favor of the bill, authored by Rep. Scott Reske (R-Anderson).  

"All the press, the testimonies and the rallies came down to this moment," Rep. Saunders said.  "I was very nervous.  However, the bipartisan vote in favor of the bill gives me hope for the bill's chances moving forward."

Testimony about closing the home lasted for more than an hour and included those in favor of the bill and those against. 

As one witness pointed out, the current draft of the state's budget appropriates funding to keep the school alive.  However, the passage of legislation this session will still be required to keep it open.

"This isn't over," Rep. Saunders said.  "To keep the home open, we have several more obstacles to overcome, including the House of Representatives, the Senate and, finally, the governor himself. Citizens must make it clear to all stakeholders that closing the Knightstown home is not an acceptable option."

The deadline for second reading for the House is Feb. 24, and the deadline for third and final reading is the next day.