[r76] Working on cleaning up Indiana (2/14/2014)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Start Date: 2/14/2014 Start Time: 9:00 AM
The halfway point of session was last week. Bills have changed houses, so we are now discussing Senate bills that passed, and the Senate is discussing House bills that passed. Of the 446 House bills (HB) that were filed, 146 passed out of the House and are now being further discussed in the Senate. 

I have authored a few bills that focus on education this session, among other issues, but I specifically want to focus on HB 1141. This bills concerns methamphetamine records in property sales, has passed the House, and I feel especially hopeful that the unanimous vote this bill received will lead to its continued success in the Senate. 

Right now, Indiana is ranked as the third worst state in terms of meth production because of the high number of lab seizures. That is a startling statistic that makes me take a step back and think about what we could be doing better.

Preventative laws have been enacted, limiting the amount of pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medicine that is a critical ingredient in the production of meth, that can be purchased by consumers. A tracking system is also in place, which prohibits abusers from buying the product. But, more needs to be done as the number of incidents isn’t declining.

This past year, I had the opportunity to meet a man who had suffered the effects of breathing in air from houses previously contaminated by methamphetamine. The real estate appraiser had suffered lung damage and now carries a breathing mask while on the job. My intention with this bill is to stop instances like this and create a healthier, safer community. We are continuing to look at ways to eliminate meth production, so Hoosier communities aren’t subject to the devastation that occurs when this drug is present.

With HB 1141, potential homeowners would be aware of whether a home had been contaminated by meth and whether it had been properly decontaminated. I think that by focusing on what meth is doing to neighborhoods we can begin cleaning up affected communities. I believe that with HB 1141 and other programs such as Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellsperman’s Blight Elimination Program, Indiana will see some of its hardest hit communities revitalized. 

Currently in Indiana, there aren’t specific guidelines that law enforcement or courts follow that warn buyers about properties affected by meth. HB 1141 will require the Indiana State Police to have a record of contaminated properties to ensure that no one unintentionally buys a home with a history of meth. This will not only enforce the proper decontamination of meth homes through renovations or deep cleaning, but will be a measure to prevent owners from being infected by dangerous fumes or chemicals. This not only helps clean up our communities, but it enables greater transparency of government functions. 

My intention with this bill is to improve Indiana, allowing people to have more, safe residency options in Hoosier communities. By cleaning up communities and increasing transparency, we can create a more desirable environment in Indiana alongside an initiative to clean up after methamphetamine. 

The amount of victims left in the wake of methamphetamine is unacceptable and hurts Indiana communities. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow legislators on making sure this bill will have a positive impact on our state and communicating with my district on the positive changes that would be made for their hometowns. 

McNamara_Memo_Update HB 1141.docx