Rounding the final corner of session

Written by emallers on March 5th, 2018

We are nearing the final weeks of the 2018 legislative session. Several bills have already been approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate and are on their way to be signed into law, while other bills are still being debated and finalized. This is an exciting time because these potential new laws will positively impact the lives of Hoosiers throughout the entire state.

I am excited to see legislation I sponsored aiding students with dyslexia is almost through the entire legislative process. I have been working closely with students, parents and educators for several years on how to ensure students with dyslexia have the tools they need to be successful in the classroom. In 2015, I authored a law that started the conversation on what dyslexia is and why it is so critical to identify signs early. Dyslexia affects the way a person reads, writes, spells and pronounces words. At that bill signing, I met a little girl named Erin. She told me how she used to cry every night before she went to bed because she thought she wasn’t as smart as her classmates. Erin was eventually diagnosed as dyslexic, like me, and just learns differently. Children like Erin attend our community’s schools, and it’s important we equip educators with the tools needed to spot signs of dyslexia early and ensure these students receive a well-rounded education tailored to their unique learning needs.

Another bill I am honored to sponsor, known as “Savannah’s Law,” is named after Savannah Bettis, who tragically passed away in a 2015 car crash. The one-vehicle accident was the result of carbon monoxide gas building up in the cabin due to a faulty exhaust system. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas that can be fatal if inhaled in high concentrations continuously. Both Savannah and her boyfriend, who survived the crash, fell unconscious from the carbon monoxide which resulted in the accident. They really had no warning.

Savannah’s Law would give Hoosiers the opportunity to receive free carbon monoxide emissions tests for their vehicle at their local fire department. This test would take about 10 minutes and could save the lives of Hoosiers and their families. I used to work as a mechanic, so I can typically spot when cars are not working properly. Recently, my wife and I experienced headaches while driving. After getting the car checked out, we discovered our catalytic converter had come loose and was leaking carbon monoxide into our car. Everyone should be aware of this real danger. This legislation can be now be signed by the governor and could soon become law.

Last fall, I met with several families to discuss how we can improve Indiana’s adoption process and foster care program. After hearing stories from children and parents, it is clear that something must be done to ensure kids in the foster care system have a safe and loving place to call home. I have been working on legislation that would increase transparency and accountability throughout the entire adoption process. Under my proposal, prospective adoptive parents would receive a report with contact information of agency employees, giving them a place to voice concerns, ask questions and receive feedback. This gives Hoosiers looking to adopt a child a clear path to address concerns, if need be. This bill has been supported unanimously throughout the legislative session, and it is now awaiting the governor’s signature before it becomes law.

As we round the corner toward the end of session, lawmakers will be finalizing their bills. To keep track of legislation during this time, visit If you have any questions about my legislation or if there is anything I can do to help you or your family, contact me at or 317-232-9648.


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