(Left to Right) Jeffery Thompson (R-Lizton), Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon), Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis)

Hendricks County legislators: High-priority bills advance as session reaches halfway point

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 4, 2022) – In the first half of the 2022 legislative session, Hendricks County lawmakers voted to advance several key priorities, including a sweeping tax-cut package to help hardworking Hoosiers and businesses.
Now in the hands of the Indiana Senate, State Reps. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) and Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton) supported what would be the largest tax cut in state history, putting over $1.3 billion back in Hoosiers’ pockets. The state’s budget reserves are expected to hit a record $5 billion at the end of fiscal year 2022, which is $3 billion more than expected.

“Our focus on living within our means while paying down debt has helped put Indiana in a position to return money to taxpayers,” Behning said. “Hoosiers have told us over and over they want to keep more of their hard-earned dollars, not make government bigger. This legislation would do just that.”  

Behning said House Bill 1002 would deliver direct relief to working Hoosiers by reducing the individual income tax from 3.23 to 3%. To encourage new investments, this legislation would also lower the business personal property tax while ensuring homeowners and schools aren’t negatively impacted. In addition, the bill would lower Hoosiers’ utility bills by repealing the 1.4% Utility Receipts Tax.

To alleviate the state’s ongoing nursing shortage, local lawmakers supported House Bill 1003 to boost the health care workforce pipeline by providing flexibility to those seeking licensure. By 2031, Indiana will need 5,000 additional nurses and nursing programs will need to increase their graduating classes by 1,350 each year to meet this need. This is in addition to the current 4,300 nursing job openings statewide.

“Nurses are a critical facet in providing essential and timely medical care to Hoosiers,” Thompson said. “With their numbers running dangerously low, our state needs to ensure the process of earning a nursing license is streamlined so more can be ready to enter the field.”

Thompson said this legislation would also give flexibility to nursing programs and nurse educators, and support nursing students working to obtain the required hours to be licensed.

To reduce jail overcrowding, area lawmakers supported House Bill 1004 to allow judges to send Level 6 felony offenders to the Indiana Department of Correction instead of county jails. The state often offers greater access to mental health and addiction treatment services.

“With the county jail population strongly tied to drug-related offenses, connecting incarcerated felons to more treatment options through DOC programming would help reduce overall crime throughout the state and lower recidivism rates,” Steuerwald said. “This builds on our efforts to support local and state law enforcement officers who work hard to protect us and our families.”

Steuerwald said a recent report shows nearly 75% of all felony criminal filings in Indiana are Level 6 felonies, with many of those substance-related, like drug possession or operating while intoxicated.

Behning said there’s a lot of work left to do in the second half of session as the Indiana House of Representatives will consider Senate bills and the Senate will consider House bills. Watch session and committees, and view legislation at iga.in.gov.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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