It has been another busy week at the State House! I am always grateful for you and your continued support to help MCCOY advocate for bills that help children, their families, and their caregivers. Huge thanks to those of you who joined us in support of SB 268, "Juvenile Justice" by responding to our Advocacy Alert earlier this week and signing onto our letter of support. More opportunities like these to add your voice or your organization's voice to our advocacy efforts will come up, so stay tuned!
Below are your weekly updates from the Indiana State House!
Have a great Super Bowl weekend!
SB 368, "Juvenile Justice" is scheduled for a hearing at 9am on Tuesday morning in the Senate Committee on Criminal Law. If passed, this bill will ensure children aren't housed in adult jails, establish standards to make sure children are competent to stand trial, abolish juvenile life sentences, and create a system of automatic expungement for juvenile records.
Today, MCCOY sent a letter of support for this bill to the committee chairman, Senator Mike Young, and all of the committee members. Thank you to all of you who were able to sign on to our letter as either organizations or concerned citizens. Your added support makes our letter even more impactful!
Didn't get a chance to sign on to our letter? Click on the link below to send an email of support of your own to the full committee with just a few clicks! You can use the pre-written letter, or edit it to share your own unique story about why this bill matters to you.
Senate Bill 233, TANF Eligibility, passed its third reading (43-5) before the full senate on Monday.
Currently, the eligibility levels for TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, have not increased since 1988. Because this level has not accounted for inflation over the past three decades, a family would have to make almost 90 percent less than current federal poverty guidelines to be eligible for the benefit. Even then, they’d receive just $288 in assistance each month.
A second bill introduced in the House of Representatives that also addresses TANF eligibility is HB 1009, "TANF program." This bill has been scheduled a hearing in the House Committee on Family, Children, and Human Affairs on this upcoming Tuesday, February 9th at 8:30am.
MCCOY supports both SB233 and HB1009 because if passed, they would adjust the eligibility requirements based on current cost of living adjustments and would increase certain payments to families in need through the program.
SB 82, Mental Health Diagnosis, passed unanimously before the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services earlier this week. Next it will presented before the full Senate Chamber.
Currently in Indiana, only physicians and psychologists are able to diagnose mental health disorders. With 74 of our 92 counties being considered mental health professional shortage areas, over 10,000 health care providers in Indiana are prevented from diagnosing patients with these disorders. Mental illness and addiction are treatable conditions, but many people are slipping through the cracks, in part due to the inability of masters level clinicians to diagnose.
MCCOY supports maximizing the important work of mental health and addiction service providers who are trained and qualified to both treat and diagnose behavioral health disorders. We support SB 82 because this bill is a strong step toward addressing the mental health crisis in Indiana.
Let your senators know that you support SB 82, too! Click on the link below to quickly send your senator an email of support with just a few clicks and encourage him/her to vote "yes" on SB 82 when it comes to the full Senate Chamber for a vote.
Other legislative wins
SB 19, "Required information on student ID cards" passed its 3rd reading (35-12). If passed, this bill will require a public school to include a suicide prevention hotline phone number and human trafficking hotline phone number on its student ID cards.
SB 2, "Funding for virtual instruction in public schools," passed its 3rd reading (41-6). This bill will establish a definition of "virtual learning" for determining a school corporations basic tuition support. It will also establish a learning loss study regarding students K-10.
HB 1101, "Daycare licensure exemption," passed its third reading (93-0). If passed, this bill will allow youth service providers to provide care for children in grades K-12 during the school day in the event of a disaster emergency.
Marion County Commission on Youth, Inc.
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