Legislative session wraps up

Written by emallers on May 1st, 2019

The 2019 legislative session has come to a close, with many proposals already signed into law by the governor. Lawmakers worked hard this session, putting Hoosiers first and passing sound policies moving Indiana forward. I tackled important issues to protect local property owners, support retired public employees and engage students in civics education.

A new law I authored protects property owners from being forced to pay tenants’ unpaid utility bills. In some areas, established ordinances make landlords responsible for utility payments, even when they are not the ones using a service. While most tenants pay on time, some can rack up costly bills. This law requires municipally owned utility companies to bill renters – not the property owners – directly for services like electricity, water or gas, unless the landlord and tenant come to a separate agreement. This can prevent landlords from being unfairly and unexpectedly stuck with high utility bills and late fees, and ensure those who use the service, pay for the service.

Another issue I am particularly proud to have worked on is providing further support to retired Hoosiers. I sponsored legislation to make important improvements to the public employee and teacher retirement funds, like allowing retired members to make partial withdraws from their annuity savings accounts. I also worked diligently to ensure public employee pension members receive a 13th check in 2019 and 2020. This additional check can help close the cost-of-living gap that pensioners often face. Because Indiana is fiscally responsible, we were able to allocate in our biennial budget this additional support to retired teachers, public employees, state excise police, gaming agents and conservation officers who dedicated their careers to serving Hoosiers.

I also sponsored a new law making the United States citizenship test a part of high school government classes. This test can be the same as the one taken by immigrants seeking to gain U.S. citizenship. After studies reveled less than one-third of Americans could pass a similar test, with nearly 90% of immigrants passing the exam, it became clear more must be done to ensure young Hoosiers have a firm understanding of our nation’s government and history. If we hold those seeking U.S. citizenship to this high standard, we should be asking the same of young Americans.

Even though the Indiana General Assembly has wrapped up its official legislative business for the year, I will continue working for you and your family. Sign up to receive my e-newsletter at www.in.gov/h58 to learn more about new laws and be informed about upcoming public meetings soon to be scheduled. I am also available to answer questions or address concerns at 317-234-3827 or h58@iga.in.gov


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