The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) recently outlined their 2020 legislative agenda, which focuses on key issues affecting minority communities across the state, including health care, education, and criminal justice reform.
“We are moving forward with our commitment to achieve economic empowerment, educational obtainment, health access and social/criminal justice in Indiana,” said IBLC Chair State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis).
“Last session, we took steps toward serving Hoosiers in these areas by starting long overdue conversations on things like hate crimes and teacher salary increases. We are looking to build on those ideas by continuing these important conversations and adding new issues to the discussion at the Indiana Statehouse.
“The issues that the IBLC will focus on for the 2020 legislative session have impacted the lives of Indiana’s minority communities for decades and we want the people in our communities to know that our caucus members will continue to be their advocates and voices in the Indiana General Assembly.”
IBLC members outlined four areas of primary focus:
State Educational Institutions
“The IBLC is supporting my proposal that addresses contracting goals of Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Women Business Enterprises (WBE) and Veteran Business Enterprises (VBE). The legislation requires the president of each educational institution in Indiana to share with the State Budget Committee quarterly their progress in accomplishing the goals of the Governor’s Commission on Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises,” State Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said.
“If state education institutions do not reach their goals, my bill would allow the Office of Minority Business Development to stall contracts in an effort to hold our institutions accountable and protect the use of minority and women’s business enterprises as contractors.”
Testing of School Drinking Water For Lead
“This year, one of the top priorities for the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) is to pass legislation to mandate the biennial lead testing of Lake County schools’ drinking water. Unfortunately, Northwest Indiana has had a problem with lead contamination, which has overwhelmingly impacted schools and students in primarily minority communities,” State Senator Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) said.
“That’s why the IBLC will be fighting to get Senate Bill (SB) 214 approved this session. Requiring school drinking water to be tested for lead at least once every two years will ensure that we are able to identify and begin addressing lead issues more quickly to keep our schools and students safe.”
Reduction of Insulin Pricing
Soaring insulin prices and inflexible insurance policies have forced many Hoosiers to take desperate measures to obtain a lifesaving medication. This legislation is designed to help reduce the cost of insulin for Hoosiers by requiring an insurer to cap the total amount an individual is required to pay for a 30-day supply of a prescription insulin drug at an amount not exceeding $100, regardless of the amount or type of insulin prescribed.
“Last session, I authored legislation to create a study committee dedicated to studying prescription drug prices in Indiana,” said Shackleford. “Too often study committees are conducted with nothing to show for them, but I intend to make the voices of those Hoosiers suffering from skyrocketing insulin prices heard.
“We have an emergency on our hands when reports are showing that as many as one in four people with diabetes are rationing their insulin because they are unable to afford their lifesaving medication. My proposal would require an insurer to cap the total amount for a 30-day supply of insulin at $100, regardless of the amount or type of insulin prescribed. The testimony I heard this summer was truly heartbreaking and we cannot afford to wait any longer when Hoosiers lives are at risk.”
Summons to Appear
House Bill 1076 would reduce the amount of people in jail by requiring officers to issue a summons for that individual to appear before the court if the individual has committed certain misdemeanors in the presence of a law enforcement official. This would not apply to violent misdemeanor offenses that involve a victim, a weapon, or an impaired driver; if the person poses a safety risk to the themselves, the officer, or the public; or if the person falsely identifies themselves to an officer. The law enforcement officer is not required to issue a summons if the person is subject to arrest for another offense, has violated the terms of supervised release, or has an outstanding warrant.
“We are talking about people with families who have jobs and are being housed in county jails as they await trial for sometimes petty crimes. We can and should do better,” said State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis).
“My legislation would reduce the amount of people in jail by requiring officers to issue a summons for that individual to appear before the court if they have committed certain misdemeanors in the presence of a law enforcement official. The legislature recently did a major overhaul of our criminal statute that created challenges with overcrowding at many of our county jails, so this is an easy way to reduce that problem.”
To learn more about the IBLC legislative agenda, visit: https://assets.indianahousedemocrats.org/iblc/iblc2020agenda_final.pdf.