[r55] COLUMN: New laws benefiting Hoosier families (7/7/2014)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Start Date: 7/7/2014 Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Date: 7/7/2014 End Time: 8:00 AM
New laws benefiting Hoosier families

The beginning of July has taken on new meaning since I first began serving as your state representative. Not only does it signify the start of a new month, it also represents when many new laws take effect in Indiana. As a continuous advocate for children and families, I wanted to share with you a few of those laws that I believe will positively impact some of our youngest Hoosiers.

One of my top priorities this year was to support legislation that protects Hoosier families in a variety of situations. One of the ways we worked to accomplish this was through Senate Enrolled Act 245. Allergic reactions range in severity from person to person. Unfortunately, if your child has never been exposed to a particular allergen, you may be unaware of their potential for allergic reaction.

As food allergies are more frequently diagnosed and packaged foods come in contact with possible allergy triggers, it is essential that schools are prepared to quickly care for anyone who may go in to anaphylactic shock. This new law attempts to reduce the threat of allergic reaction by allowing schools to train and equip their staff on how to utilize auto-injectable epinephrine, which could potentially save the life of someone suffering from anaphylactic shock.

SEA 245 sets requirements for certain school or school district employees to properly fill, store and administer the epinephrine. Schools can obtain auto-injectable epinephrine through the “Epipens4Schools” program offered by Mylan Specialty, which allows qualified schools to obtain up to four of these life-saving devices at no cost. Making sure Hoosier students receive proper treatment in all school-related activities is essential to their well-being.

Another way to address student safety is by protecting high school athletes. High school athletic programs are a great way to teach students a variety of life skills outside of the classroom. However, safety is always a top priority. SEA 222 makes sure safety comes first on the football field by requiring high school football coaches to be trained in player safety and concussions once every two years.

The new law will ensure that coaches understand the appropriate steps to take to prevent head injuries from occurring. Students should have the opportunity to develop their talents, participate in athletics and enjoy the activity without fear of injury.

Preparing our high school students for their future is an evolving process. With each school year that passes, new technological advances and innovations take place. Hoosier students deserve a high-quality education that prepares them for these changes, which can impact their ability when looking for future employment. Finding a way to close the skills gap is essential to ensuring that Hoosier students can compete for today’s high-wage, high-demand jobs.

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1213 addresses this by requiring a review of the current Core 40 diploma course offerings. The Indiana Career Council’s subcommittee will also make recommendations for a Career and Technical Education (CTE) diploma. The new law will also require the subcommittee to review dual credit courses so that students have the opportunity to properly prepare for their futures, regardless of what interests they may have.

I am pleased with each of these changes made this year to improve the lives of our youngest Hoosiers. They are the key to Indiana’s future, and my hope is that these new laws will make parents feel more secure and hopeful about the future of their children in our state.  


Rep. Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.