Campaign for Hoosier Families—A Legislative Update

Campaign for Hoosier Families
A strong, public voice for Hoosier families and children in need

Dear Fellow Advocates,

The 2017 Legislative Session is well under way and the Campaign for Hoosier Families is watching out for your interests. An important and popular topic this Session is the issue of mental health. While many bills have died because they were not heard in their respective committees before the committee report deadline, some key mental health bills have passed through third reading.

House Bill 1430, provides that, after June 30, 2018, each school corporation, charter school, or accredited nonpublic school shall require certain school employees to attend or participate in at least two hours of evidence based in-service youth suicide awareness and prevention training every two school years. HB 1430 has been referred to the Senate and assigned to the Senate Education Committee.

Senate Bill 506, also provides important measures regarding suicide prevention training in educational institutions. Requires the division of mental health and addiction to: (1) establish a psychiatric crisis intervention pilot program; (2) develop a statewide program for suicide prevention; and (3) employ a coordinator of the statewide program for suicide prevention, which will be implemented in schools. The bill also requires continual education for school employees on child suicide awareness and training. SB 506 passed on the Senate Floor and has been referred to the House.

Bills such as HB 1430 and SB 506 are critical to Hoosier families because of how prevalent the issue of suicide is in the state of Indiana. Based on the most recent Suicide in Indiana Report, produced by the Indiana State Department of Health, the “overall suicide rate in Indiana was higher than the U.S. and Midwest [suicide] rates.” The focus of these bills on youth suicide prevention is significant because, according to this same report, “suicide was the second leading cause of death in the 15-34 age group, [and] the third leading cause of death among those 10-14 years of age.”

Other bills seeking to better the mental health of Hoosiers are Senate Bill 435 and Senate Bill 63. Senate Bill 435 requires a school corporation’s health education curriculum to include mental health wellness education. It also provides that the governing body of a school corporation may provide mental health screenings to students. SB 435 has passed on the Senate Floor and has been referred to the House. Senate Bill 63 establishes a two-year community mental health center telemedicine pilot program to be administered by the division of mental health and addiction. It also provides that the purpose of the program is to provide mental health counseling and services to children through the use of telemedicine. SB 63 passed on the Senate Floor and has been referred to the House.

What this means for you?
Indiana schools and youth are going to see an increase in suicide prevention and mental health programming facilitated by the state. Hopefully with more education, involvement from the community, and support from the state, less Hoosier families will have to endure the pain of suicide. The stigma of mental illness is also a target of this legislation, which will help create a safe environment for those suffering from mental illness. Through this legislation, Indiana is taking an important step toward supporting appropriate mental health care and resources for Hoosiers.

What can you do?
Contact your State Senator and Representative to express your support for bills that involve providing mental health resources and education to Indiana youth.

Unsure of who your state legislators are? Follow this link to find out: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/. Every phone call and email makes a difference as we work to protect the interests of Hoosier Families!

For more information about mental health in Indiana and the U.S. check out the following links: http://www.in.gov/isdh/files/Suicide_Report_2013_final(1).pdf OR http://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Infographics/GeneralMHFacts.pdf

As we’re sure you’ve gathered, there is a lot going on regarding immigration right now. The Trump administration has announced plans to ramp up enforcement and deportation efforts, causing great fear in immigrant communities, while lawmakers in Congress have proposed legislation to drastically limit future legal immigration. Your advocacy is more needed now than ever.

Today we’d like to give you a few actions you can take immediately on local, state and Federal levels to support immigrants in our community.

Join Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies:
GLIA is a group that was recently formed by local restaurant owner Kirsten Serrano and others to support immigrants locally with a focus on fellowship, advocacy, and education. The group has already put on several successful events, including a recent postcard-writing event that generated 800 postcards to send to politicians. You can find GLIA on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/GreaterLafayetteImmigrantAllies/

Support local “Welcoming Cities” ordinances:
LUM Immigration Clinic is committed to making Greater Lafayette a truly welcoming place. To that end, we have joined together with GLIA and other community members to propose and promote welcoming ordinances in both Lafayette and West Lafayette. These ordinances would assure that both cities do what is in their legal power to support local residents and their due process rights regardless of immigration status. We will be meeting with local officials soon to discuss these issues and lobby for their support. If you are interested in speaking directly to city officials that represent your district, please contact us immediately. In the meantime, sign our petitions to show them that these are provisions you support. The more people we have on board, the better.

You can find the Lafayette petition here: https://www.change.org/p/lafayette-city-council-make-lafayette-a-welcoming-city

The West Lafayette petition is here: https://www.change.org/p/west-lafayette-city-council-make-west-lafayette-a-welcoming-city

UPDATE: David Sanders from the West Lafayette Council will be introducing a “Welcoming City” resolution on Monday night, March 6th. Below is a link to the resolution: http://www.westlafayette.in.gov/eGov/documents/1487788678_20227.pdf

GLIA is hoping to have a large contingent of supporters at the event and is asking all those who want to ensure that the City of West Lafayette continue to evoke an a welcoming attitude attend the event, especially those who live in West Lafayette.

The Indiana State Senate recently pass a bill that is designed to prevent “sanctuary” campuses (SB 423). The full text of the bill can be found by going to https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/423. This past Tuesday, February 28th, the full Senate approved the bill which will now go to to the house. Call and write your senators ASAP to encourage them to vote NO on SB 423. The phone numbers and email addresses for house members can be found at: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has introduced the Protect Immigration Act (S-303) bill in the US Senate that would basically repeal the president’s executive orders on immigration. More specifically the bill would discontinue the Secure Communities program which authorizes State and local law enforcement officers to investigate, apprehend, and detain aliens in accordance with a written agreement with the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and to clarify that immigration enforcement is solely a function of the Federal Government. More about information about the bill can be found by going to https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/303/all-info. A similar bill, H.R. 912 has been introduced in the House of Representatives. The full title of the bill is “Protecting Immigrants from Legal Exploitation Act of 2017” and the text can be found by going to: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/912?r=73. To find/contact your house member go to: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. If you are uncomfortable with the current approach to immigration enforcement we urge you to contact Senator Todd Young and Senator Joe Donnelly to express support for S-303 The phone numbers and email addresses for Young and Donnelly’s offices are available by going to: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information

To find out more information about bills that are being watched by the Campaign for Hoosier Families go to www.lumserve.org/bill-watch-list/.

Campaign for Hoosier Families is an alliance of faith-based organizations that engages local, state and federal officials on behalf of low-income Hoosier families and children. To find out more information about bills that are being watched by the Campaign for Hoosier Families, please click HERE.

Thank you for helping to support Hoosier Families!

If you wish to make a donation to the LUM Social Justice Ministry, click HERE.

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