This week marked the final passage or defeat of bills in their house of origin and the start of conference committees – the time when bills that had significant changes to them are deliberated by both chambers and either passed into law or defeated.
MCCOY has been working in concert with other state and local education associations and child advocacy organizations on a bill that popped up late in the process. Next week the House and Senate are likely to consider language that was added to Senate Bill 229, that would greatly increase the access of young people to guns in schools, day cares, preschools, residential child care facilities, and Head Start programs. Attached is a letter that more fully details the concerns with the new language in SB 229, excerpted below.
1. SB 229 takes away all power from schools and teachers to create gun safe zones for the safety of their students and staff, by prohibiting rules banning employees from bringing guns locked in their cars.
2. By redefining on what school property it would be a crime to possess firearms, SB 229 would allow firearms inside school buildings, if that building is not being used exclusively for a school function.
3. By redefining school property, SB 229 also completely decriminalizes possession of a firearm, by anyone other than an enrolled student, in the parking lots of schools, day cares, preschools, residential child care facilities, and Head Start programs.
4. SB 229 almost completely decriminalizes leaving a gun in plain view on the seat of an unlocked car in school parking lots.It protects irresponsible gun owners who leave loaded weapons unlocked and in plain view of children.
The Senate has never held a public hearing to hear and consider the consequences of this very serious change in the law.
Please call your state Senator to express your concerns with this language. Ask that the House amendment be taken out of SB 229 as it was never heard in the Senate, and that this is such a serious issue, with significant ramifications, that it should not pass at least until fully considered and vetted by the Senate.
In addition to your state senator, please also contact:
Senator Jim Tomes: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Richard Young: email@example.com
President Pro-Tem David Long: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaker Brian Bosma: email@example.com
317-233-0539 (Statehouse Fax)
Below is a status update of the bills that MCCOY has been following and links to our tracking reports.
HB1036 CHILD CARE & DEVELOPMENT FUND ELIGIBILITY (MAHAN K) Specifies health, education, safety, and training requirements that a child care provider must meet as a condition of eligibility to receive a federal Child Care and Development Fund voucher payment.
Current Status: 3/10/14 conference committee meeting 11:00 a.m. Rm. 404
HB1137 REPORTING OF SEX CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN (HALE C) Requires the commission on improving the status of children in Indiana to study and evaluate the underreporting of crimes against children.
Current Status: 2/3/2014 – DEAD BILL; Fails to advance by House 3rd reading deadline; amended into SB227
HB1220 CRIMINAL GANG LAWS AND JUVENILE COURT JURISDICTION (LAWSON L) Modifies the definition of “criminal gang” to include a group with at least three members that collectively engages in a pattern of criminal gang activity and is a covert or overt organization that has a command structure. Specifies that criminal gang activity can only be committed by a member of a criminal gang. Removes criminal gang activity, criminal gang intimidation, and certain drug offenses from the list of crimes that a juvenile court does not have jurisdiction over.
Current Status: Language amended into HB1006 Criminal Code Revision
HB1351 WELFARE MATTERS; DRUG TESTING (MCMILLIN J) Requires the division of family resources to establish a statewide program for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that allows SNAP benefits to be used only for food and beverages that have sufficient nutritional value, as determined by the division of family resources. Requires the office of the secretary of family and social services (office) to administer a drug testing program (program) for individuals who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance or receiving TANF assistance on behalf of a child. Establishes requirements for the program and ineligibility penalties. Prohibits an individual who is ineligible to receive TANF assistance under the program from receiving assistance on behalf of a child and provides for an exception. Requires the office to collect data to assess and avoid discrimination in the program. Requires the office to provide information to the Indiana housing and community development authority and any division of the office that implements the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program concerning an individual who tests positive for controlled substances. Requires the department of workforce development to submit a report to the legislative council and the unemployment insurance oversight committee concerning certain unemployment topics.
Current Status: 3/6/14 conference committee meeting
If you have any questions about the bills or MCCOY’s public policy priorities, please feel free to contact me. If there is any other information that you would like to see added to these updates, or that you would like to pass on to others for information or support, please e-mail me and I will add to the next update. Thank you!
Mindi Kensinger Goodpaster, MSW
Director, Public Policy & Advocacy
3901 N. Meridian St., Suite 201
Indianapolis, IN 46208