[r75] Bills becoming laws (4/5/2013)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Start Date: 4/5/2013 Start Time: 9:00 AM

Have you ever had a project that you poured your heart and soul into? Maybe it was garden work, building a barn or a contest entry for your favorite hobby. You spend hours planning, researching and creating the best possible outcome. Each year, the part-time legislative body meets for session. Since session spans only three to four months (depending on the year), I have similar feelings in regards to the months of preparation put into meeting with members of the community, working on policy initiatives and finally drafting legislative proposals as a means to better Indiana.

I am excited to say that last week some of the bills I authored and co-authored for the 2013 legislative session were signed into law by the governor: House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1130 and HEA 1359.

HEA 1130 provides that an individual who is gravely disabled, in addition to having a mental illness and being in immediate need of hospitalization, may be detained by a law enforcement officer and transported to the nearest appropriate facility.

Currently, people who are gravely disabled are not included in the immediate detention statute (commonly referred to as the 24 hour detention), which makes situations more difficult for law enforcement officers to handle .The primary purpose of this type of detention is to permit law enforcement officials or emergency medical personnel to take an individual who is experiencing a mental health crisis into custody for transportation to a local health care or psychiatric facility for assessment and emergency treatment.

This legislation is important for public safety, especially as more people are being diagnosed with mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s or dementia. I want to make sure that the proper precautions are taken with individuals who have mental illnesses.

Secondly, I co-authored HEA 1359 with three other state representatives. The legislation addresses age-restricted housing programs and passed with bipartisan support in both chambers. This bill allows a redevelopment commission to establish a program for age-restricted housing.

This piece of legislation came from the desire by local governments to make their communities welcoming to senior citizens.  By creating the option for residential housing TIF (tax increment financing) districts, communities will have another option to redevelop and sell housing that may otherwise not be considered.

This will benefit the baby boomer generation particularly by providing housing incentives that are specific to their demographic, if they choose to downsize their homes.  This will have a positive impact on abandoned houses or places in need of rehabilitation and provides incentives to redevelop unsightly areas. 

HEA 1130 will go into effect on July 1, and HEA 1359 will become effective on May 15 of this year. I will continue to work tirelessly on the other issues that I have proposed before the General Assembly as a way to improve Hoosier communities.

As always, feel free to connect with me on my website at www.in.gov/h75 or by phone at 317-232-9674. I look forward to continuing to support legislation that positively impacts Hoosiers in our state.