In the coming year there are numerous policy changes in motion to be reviewed by the legislators in office for the state of Indiana. It’s important to not forget advocacy comes in many forms, both on the individual and familial level, but also in terms of vast social change.
Below you will find a list of the bills being brought forth in the House and Senate:
- Senate Bill 32, authored by Sen. J.D. Ford would prohibit the use of conversion therapy with youth by any mental health provider. Conversion therapy refers to any of the dangerous and crude practices that attempt to change a person’s gender or sexual orientation to cisgendered and straight, respectively. This type of therapy shows a correlation with negative mental health outcomes and higher rates of attempted suicide. (thetrevorproject.org)
- Senate Bill 101, authored by Sen. Jeff Raatz and Sen. Dennis Kruse seeks to make amends to education requirements such as not requiring a student to create a graduation plan while in the 6th grade, the requirement for higher education institutions to submit a student’s records to the Indiana archives whether or not they have an outstanding balance with the institution, and proposes a student 17 years of age has the legal capacity to sign a contract for the Hoosier educators scholarship.
- Senate Bill 137, authored by Sen. Andy Zay and Sen. J.D. Ford seeks to make amends to the Kids First Trust Fund Board. One of the proposed changes include allowing the board to create a nonprofit subsidiary with the capability of soliciting and accepting donations, private funding, gifts and otherwise. Other proposed changes include board member term limits of four years, a quorum for at least two meetings in a year, and meeting minutes to be posted no later than ten days after a meeting.
- Senate Bill 301, authored by Sen. Erin Houchin would establish a child services oversight committee to review the department of children services’ case decision and juvenile court cases with negative outcomes. From this committee, recommendations would be made to the DCS and legislative council, along with studying topics related to DCS and child safety.
- Senate Bill 374, authored by Sen. Eddie Melton focuses on student suicide prevention and mental health among youth. This bill would require state agencies and health care providers to collect data regarding the number of incidences of suicide or attempted suicide and report to the Department of Education on that data. This information would be used to provide mental health and suicide prevention support to the schools where the students attend who had an incident of suicide or attempted suicide. Furthermore, the bill would require a community mental health provider to provide the school with a phone number a student can text if they need support services surrounding suicide or mental health.
- House Bill 1032, authored by Rep. Randall Fyre would implement regulations around newborn safety devices that are located at medical centers or fire departments. The alarm system connected to the newborn safety device would transmit a 911 request when opened so that if a person leaves a child in the device, prompt attention would be given to the child.
- House Bill 1230, authored by Rep. Ryan Lauer concerns Indiana’s safe haven law where a parent can request emergency service providers take custody of a child by dialing 911 and then staying present with the child until the provider arrives to take custody. The bill also proposes the provider taking custody should inform the child’s parent about the ability to remain anonymous.
- House Bill 1362, authored by Rep. Bradd Barrett and Rep. Chris Campbell would implement universal newborn screenings for cytomegalovirus, a virus that typically doesn’t affect healthy people but can cause serious illness in those with a weakened immune system or pregnant.
- House Bill 1366, authored by Rep. Sue Errington and Rep. Tonya Pfaff would prohibit the state board of education from distributing HIV literature to students without the consent of the governing body of the school. The bill would also require sex and sexually transmitted disease instruction in schools to be based off information that is medically and scientifically sound and age appropriate.