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State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) today announced that she, along with other senators, authored legislation this session to help address public safety issues in Indiana.

“Over the past few years, due in part to a perfect storm of criminal code reform in 2014 and the ongoing opioid crisis, criminal filings have increased by more than 10 percent, and violent crime has gone up by more than 17 percent in our state,” Houchin said. “It is crucial we work together to pass legislation that would help combat these issues and keep Hoosiers safe.”

Houchin spoke specifically on Senate Bill 141, which would create a framework of regulations for office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) programs.

“There are currently more than 600 OBOT facilities in Indiana. They receive Medicaid funding, dispense opioid-replacement medications and operate virtually unregulated,” Houchin said. “SB 141 would impose modest regulations on these facilities to help ensure quality care is available for those who need it.”

In addition, Houchin expressed the importance of incremental pay increases for those who serve in the Indiana State Police.

“In 2017, I was proud to author legislation giving Indiana State Police officers a much-needed pay increase. Before this increase, they had only received two in the previous 10 years,” Houchin said. “The men and women who serve and protect Hoosiers deserve an annual pay increase, and Senate Bill 388 would provide this.”

State Sens. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield), Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) and Jack E. Sandlin (R-Indianapolis) also spoke at the press conference.

Merritt spoke regarding Senate Bill 20, which would raise sentences for various criminal felonies.

“Our most violent and severe offenders need to be held accountable for their actions,” Merritt said. “SB 20 would increase sentencing for high-level felonies to ensure the punishment fits the crime and Hoosiers are safe and afforded peace of mind.”

Crider highlighted Senate Bill 3, which would help prevent and prosecute crimes committed against children involving the internet.

“The safety of Hoosier children is of the utmost importance to my colleagues and me,” Crider said. “As technology has improved over the last two decades, it has provided criminals with new outlets to commit crimes. We need to be doing everything we can to ensure our children do not fall victim to these predators, and, if passed, SB 3 would give the Indiana State Police the resources they need to investigate internet crimes against children.”

Freeman emphasized the importance of providing Indiana’s law enforcement with the tools necessary to fight terrorism.

“School shootings and bomb threats have risen with the advancement of technology. As a state, our top priority should be keeping our Hoosier students safe,” Freeman said. “To better address these threats, I authored Senate Bill 240, which would aim to fix Indiana’s intimidation statute.”

Sandlin discussed two pieces of his legislation that would address public safety issues that have affected his Indianapolis district: Senate Bills 89 and 174.

“Ensuring public safety is one of my top priorities, and I have introduced legislation that puts Hoosiers’ well-being at a premium,” Sandlin said. “SB 89 would protect cyclists riding on public streets by enforcing a minimum distance a passing vehicle must maintain. Additionally, in response to the highly publicized case from central Indiana, SB 174 would prohibit physicians treating patients for fertility from using their own spermatozoon or ovum without prior consent from the patients.”

“As advocates for our constituents, Indiana lawmakers have the responsibility to help keep Indiana a safe place for all Hoosiers,” Houchin said. “If passed, I believe these bills would have a positive impact on our state and help keep Hoosiers secure.”

State Sens. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne), Justin Busch (R-Fort Wayne), Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute), Chris Garten (R-Charlestown), Ron Grooms (R-Jeffersonville), Randy Head (R-Logansport) and Linda Rogers (R-Granger) also attended the press conference.

Committee hearings can be viewed online by visiting iga.in.gov. Legislative calendars, agendas, vote tallies and proposed legislation can also be found on this site.