[r76] A variety of Senate bills (2/28/2014 - 3/3/2014)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Start Date: 2/28/2014 Start Time: 6:00 AM
This session I have been able to sponsor and co-sponsor Senate Bill (SB) 291, directed at human trafficking investigations, SB 222, relating to athletes that receive concussions and SB 32, concerning public official bonding. This week I would like to highlight these three bills.

Currently, human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing criminal act and brings in over 32 billion dollars annually across the world. SB 291 will continue the efforts put forth in Senate Enrolled Act 4 from 2011. Discussion began on human trafficking in Indiana, when Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl, human trafficking typically expanding around major sporting and entertainment events. This bill put human trafficking into state statue recognizing it as a Class B felony as well as further defined human trafficking as anyone who recruited, harbored, or transported another person by force or fraud. This included both children and those above 18. This law was later expanded in 2013 to broaden the scope of potential cases, allowing more thorough investigations. 

Right now in Indiana, the Attorney General does not have the same authority as law enforcement to access, maintain or investigate information regarding violations of human trafficking. This is an efficiency problem in our state and SB 291 will help correct it. This bill will provide the Attorney General with more investigative power so Indiana can continue to fight against human trafficking. This bill has passed through the House Criminal Codes committee and will move forward to a full House vote. 

SB 32 is important to city-county officials. Currently in Indiana, someone who is running for county office that may handle money, such as treasurer or sheriff, is required to take out a bond. These bonds are meant as an insurance policy against embezzling or corruption. Unfortunately, state statute does not recognize individuals who may not be able to take out a bond due to their poor financial situation. SB 32 attempts to address this problem, which has occurred in Southern Indiana when a candidate was elected into office but was not able to take out a bond.

In order to address this issue, which has happened close to home, SB 32 will alter the form which candidates would fill out, insuring that they recognize they may have be bonded at some point. We are hoping that this will motivate people to speak to bonding authorities to see if they can in fact be bonded if they are elected for the position. These changes will aid in informing local candidates of their responsibilities once elected. This bill has passed unanimously in the House and has been returned to the Senate with amendments. 

As a principal, high school students are one of my top priorities and SB 222 is directed at student athletes. Under this bill a student athlete who has been taken out of a game due to a suspected concussion or head injury, may not return to the game until at least 24 hours after the injury. The bill hopes to alleviate any concerns for athlete’s safety, as Hoosier students remain one of our top priorities here at the Statehouse. 

This piece of legislation also states that coaches are required to complete a course concerning player safety and concussions at least once every two years. This will help in keeping leaders aware and trained in recognizing the signs of head injury in an athlete, enforcing health and safety. SB 222 has passed through the Senate and the House Education Committee and will be discussed further on the House floor.

I like to work with a large variance of legislation to ensure that our state is receiving a well-rounded view on all issues. The legislation that is getting passed through both the House and the Senate is important to Indiana’s future and I look forward to see this session’s success enacted into state law.

McNamara_Memo_A variety of Senate bills.docx