[r63] Community connections at the Statehouse

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Thursday, March 28, 2013

Every branch of government has been on full display this week. Most notably, the Indiana Supreme Court passed a ruling that education vouchers were constitutional. 

Since 2011, legislation to provide greater choices to low-income Hoosier families as been overwhelming supported as 9,400 low-income students are now enrolled in the program. I applaud this decision as we look to provide more high-quality education options to Hoosier families. The decision was a unanimous 5-0 vote, making it very clear that securing the best education for Hoosier children continues to be the foremost priority for all bodies of government in Indiana.

In the House of representatives, we also worked on legislation to help deal with the problem of illegal drug use in our communities.  I have consistently made efforts to work on legislation that will affect this topic, and we have had two bills that received final passage in the House.

First, Senate Bill (SB) 536 tightens up the synthetic drug rules that we have worked on over the past few years. The bill adds compounds to the list of “synthetic drugs” and ensures that the Attorney General’s office will possess the authority to pursue manufacturers or distributors of new compounds in a more timely fashion than before. Prior to this, manufacturers of synthetic drugs would slightly alter a formula in order to make it ‘legal’ to possess.

Secondly, SB 496 addresses pseudoephedrine sales. This bill will allow for eight months of purchases per year of medicine containing this drug without a prescription. What this amounts to is two purchases per month  of the equivalent of a 96-count box of pseudoephedrine products for eight months out of the year. With this legislation, retailers will also be required to participate in the real-time electronic monitoring system that tracks the sales of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine.

Finally, legislation that I authored, House Bill (HB) 1027, received final passage in the Senate this week. This bill is concerned with civil immunity for services in a state of emergency. This type of legislation is commonly referred to as the “Good Samaritan Act” because it gives a pass to individuals who assist in emergencies, such as the Indiana State Fair stage collapse or the tornadoes that occurred in Henryville last year. Because these individuals are volunteers who are asked to provide their services, they will not be held liable. 

In this bill, civil immunity would be granted to a registered architect, land surveyor, or professional engineer. Indiana joins a group of 25 other states with similar ‘Good Samaritan Act’ laws. 

These bills are prime examples of ways we are working to protect Hoosiers. We will continue to work on the issues that matter most to you in making Indiana the best place to live, work and raise a family. To learn more about these bills and others, you can visit www.in.gov/legislative