Friday, January 22, 2016

Action Alert: Legislative Session

The Indiana Legislature continues to be hard at work hearing bills in committee until the deadline late next week.  

Below are updates and calls to action.
SB 11 – ABLE Act, introduced by Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville).  Creates the “achieving a better life experience” (ABLE) authority.  Established the ABLE Board of the authority.  Requires the authority to establish a qualified ABLE program under which a person may make contributions for a taxable year for the benefit of an eligible individual with a disability to an ABLE account to meet the qualified disability expenses of the designated beneficiary in compliance with federal law.  
The bill was heard in committee this week and passed out 12-0.  There will be an amendment presented next week which will allow for both a family member of someone with a disability as well as a person with a disability themselves to hold a seat on the ABLE Board. 
The bill will be eligible for second reading(amendments) on Monday and then a vote by the full Senate by Tuesday. 
Please contact your local Senator and urge their support of the amendment to increase the Board members and also urge their support of SB 11 on third reading.
Also, please take a moment to send a very special “thank you” to State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell who is very passionate about this issue and leading the charge on the legislation.  She can be reached at: and
SB 220 – Bias Crimes.  Permits the state to seek a sentencing enhancement against a person who commits a crime against an individual with the intent to harm or intimidate the individual due to certain characteristics of the individual.  Specifies that the sentencing enhancement is: (1) for a felony, the lesser of the advisory sentence or 10 years; and (2) for a misdemeanor, not more than ½ of the maximum sentence for the misdemeanor.
The bill will receive a hearing next Tuesday at 9:00 in the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law committee.  Please contact the members below to urge their support of SB 220:
Chairman Mike Young;
Senator Bray;
Senator Glick;
Senator Raatz;
Senator Steele;
Senator Tomes;
Senator Waltz;
Senator Taylor;
Senator Lanane;
Senator Tallian;
SB 278 – Employment of Individuals with Disabilities.  Provides that the policy of the state is to promote competitive and integrated employment, including self-employment, as the first and preferred option when providing services to individuals with disabilities who are of working age.  Provides that the policy applies to programs and agencies that provide services and support to help obtain employment for individuals with disabilities.  Provides that the primary objective and preferred outcome of transition services provided as part of a special education program or related services to a child with a disability who is at least 14 years of age is to assist the child in obtaining competitive and integrated employment.  Makes other provisions.
Please contact Chairman of the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee, Senator Phil Boots to urge his to hear SB 278.  He can be reached at:
HB 1219 – High School Diplomas. Requires: (1) a charter high school; (2) a high school operated by a school corporation; and (3) a high school that is eligible to receive choice scholarships; to offer the high school’s students the opportunity to earn any type pf state diploma approved by the state board of education.  Provides that a student with a disability shall not be required to complete local requirements that exceed state requirements to receive a diploma.
This bill will be heard in the House Education Committee on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m.   There will be an amendment to the bill making it only apply to traditional public schools.  Though this is somewhat disappointing, it is needed to move the bill along and help those students who attend traditional public schools which is where most of our problem exists.
Please contact members of the House Education Committee and urge their support of HB 1219.  Members are:
Chairman Bob Behning;
Rep. Rhonda Rhoads;
Rep. Mike Braun;
Rep. Woody Burton;
Rep. Tony Cook;
Rep. Dale DeVon;
Rep. Bill Fine;
Rep. Jim Lucas;
Rep. Jeff Thompson;
Rep. Vernon Smith;
Rep. Terri Austin;
Rep. Sue Errington;
Rep. Justin Moed;
HB 1257 – Applied Behavior Analysis Programs.  Urges the legislative Council to assign the study, during the 2016 legislative interim, of the appropriate regulatory structure and agency to regulate independent centers that provide applied behavior analysis services.
Please contact Chairwoman of the House Public Health Committee, Representative Cindy Kirchhofer, and urge her to hear HB 1257.  She can be reached at
Other Bills Being Watched:
HB 1003 – Teacher Evaluations
HB 1005 – Career Pathways Program
HB 1030 – Administration of Standardized Tests
HB 1114 – ISTEP
HB 1121 – Newborn Screenings
HB 1183 – Guardianship, Department of Child Services
HB 1234 – Law Enforcement Training and Education
HB 1268 – Bias Motivated Crimes
HB 1286 – Bias Motivated Crimes
HB 1347 – Mental Health Matters
HB 1394 – Various Education Matters
HB 1395 – ISTEP Matters
SB 30 – Accident and Sickness Insurance Claim Denials
SB 93 – Various Education Matters
SB 165 – Healthy Indiana Plan
SB 196 – Accountings by Guardians and Attorneys in Fact
SB 206 – FSSA Matters
SB 220 – Bias Crimes
SB 261 – Bias Crimes
SB 263 – Bias Motivated Crimes
SB 301 – Workforce Education
SB 313 – Abortion Matters
SB 318 – Developmental Delay
SB 331 – Adult Permanent Guardianship Cases
SB 350 – Criminal History Background Checks for Home Health Workers
SB 363 – State Board of Education
SB 364 – Medicaid Provider Audits
SB 368 – Student Discipline; Students with Disabilities
SB 369 – Minimum Wage for Certain Indiana Employees
SB 371 – Probate Matters
SB 377 – Removal of Asset Limits for SNAP
SB 397 – Special Education Scholarship Accounts

-from The Arc of Indiana

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