Senators are working to encourage safety first for young Hoosiers through the "Indiana Lifeline Law" initiative. Senate Bill 274 would protect minors who are under the influence of alcohol from prosecution of crimes like minor possession or consumption if they are cooperating with law enforcement officers and requesting medical attention for alcohol-related complications.
Every parent worries about the well-being of their children when they leave for college or move out of the house. It is in the best interest of young adults and their families that we help eliminate any hesitation when deciding to get help or not – especially while someone's life is in jeopardy due to alcohol poisoning or related sickness.
The Indiana Lifeline Law will not interfere with the ability of police to charge for criminal offenses like providing to a minor, operating while intoxicated, possession of a controlled substance, etc. This bill strictly intends to encourage young Hoosiers to seek out medical assistance when it's needed. SB 274 passed the full Senate for the final time this week and is now on its way to the governor's desk. I support this initiative.
Protecting homeowners' right
to resist forced entry
Also this week, House members supported legislation to address concerns regarding Hoosier homeowners' right to forcefully resist people entering homes illegally. This past May, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that Hoosiers don't have this right if a police officer illegally enters a home. However, the justices also invited the General Assembly to change current law if we disagreed. After hearing from many troubled Hoosiers across the state, we have taken the court up on that charge.
Senate Bill 1 would eliminate confusion by simply allowing reasonable resistance by homeowners. As a lawmaker, I understand the concern for keeping our law enforcement officers as safe as possible, but I also know that concern must be balanced with respect for the centuries-old tradition of allowing citizens to defend their homes against illegal entry by anyone, even police.
After being amended in the House of Representatives, SB 1 now returns to the Senate for final legislative consideration.
Supporting statewide emergency and 911 services
Two bills aimed at modernizing the way Emergency 911 services are funded in Indiana are being considered in the General Assembly. At this time, funding for 911 services relies primarily on fees assessed for landline phone usage. With landline phone use rapidly declining, Indiana needs to find a steadier source of funding for these important 911 services. Senate Bill 345 and House Bill 1087 both shift 911 fees more evenly among landline, cellular and prepaid wireless phones to reflect changing telephone use.
I support both of these measures because having a reliable source of funding for life-saving emergency services is vital for citizens across our state. Passing a 911 modernization bill into law this year would be a win for public safety throughout Indiana. We, as a legislative body, are close to that goal with the passage of HB 1087 in the Senate by a 42-8 vote and SB 345 in the House of Representatives by a 66-29 vote.
Additional money for full-day Kindergarten, teacher pensions
Indianahas a balanced budget, reserves in place and is on track to provide a taxpayer refund next year. With some of the leftover revenue, legislators are seeking to provide extra funds for two worthy causes: full-day Kindergarten and the state's teacher pension obligations.
House Bill 1376 that would provide an additional $80 million for full-day Kindergarten, fully funding the program based on current enrollment, passed out of the full Senate Thursday with a 44-6 vote. The bill would also help Indiana reduce its state debt by earmarking a greater share of future reserve dollars for the state's teacher pension obligations.