According to the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, our area’s unemployment rate has fallen consistently since 2010. In April, Illinois' unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, Kentucky's was 7.7 percent and Michigan's was 7.4 percent. Meanwhile, Indiana's was a comparatively low 5.7 percent. Our state's unemployment rate has continued to fall for nine straight months, and for four straight months, our rate has been below the national average.
By enacting new pro-jobs policies, Indiana's workforce is steadily growing, and our economy remains strong. As your voice in government, I will continue to work to make Indiana the best state in America to find and keep a job.
While job creation continues to be one of my top priorities, I have had many opportunities over the past four years to author and sponsor legislation addressing issues important to law enforcement and our legal system. In 2013, I authored House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1151 which established the Blue Alert Program. This program was created to notify the public when a law enforcement officer was killed, seriously injured or missing in the line of duty. The Blue Alert Program adds protection to our law enforcement officers and to our local community when a major event is unfolding. By broadcasting a suspect’s physical description and other identifying information, this law protects the public and increases our sense of security.
Another bill I authored in 2013 was HEA 1111. This law allows an individual to practice tactical emergency medicine if the individual is an emergency medical technician, an advanced emergency medical technician, or a paramedic who is employed by a law enforcement agency. The individual would be allowed to provide retrieval and field medical treatment to victims of violent confrontations. These first responders must have successfully completed an accredited educational training program in tactical emergency medicine. It is important that we give our first responders – who are trained to handle emergency situations – the green light to respond immediately with life-saving measures and save lives.
HEA 1108 dealt with sentencing alternatives for certain offenders younger than 18 years old. The law established sentencing alternatives for courts with criminal jurisdiction for offenders who have been waived from juvenile court to a court with criminal jurisdiction and who are charged as adults. Before HEA 1108 there were no sentencing alternatives for juveniles tried as adults. Now, an adult court judge has the discretion to sentence juveniles more appropriately and consistently with their offenses.
Over the years, seeing issues resolved and addressing the concerns of our community is what I enjoy most about this job; however, much more work needs to be done to make Indiana stronger. This summer, I look forward to continuing to serve on interim study committees, which provide lawmakers with additional time to review various issues impacting our state. In the future I will continue to prioritize keeping Hoosiers safe and make sure those who put their life on the line have all the tools they need to be successful.