Education, public health are subjects in the Third House

Three state lawmakers representing parts of Bartholomew County held online conversations with constituents Monday in the first third House session of the year, with most questions related to education and public health.

Third House Sessions, sponsored by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, are opportunities for community members to interact with legislators during legislative session, and continue in a virtual format with questions submitted in advance from the public. Rep. Ryan Lauer, R-Columbus; agent. Jennifer Meltzer, R-Shelbyville; And Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus, logged into the Third House Monday.

One bill that was discussed was HB 1620, co-authored by Meltzer, which would require school board candidates to declare a political party and “be nominated in the same way as all other elected office bearers”. candidates are nominated for.

“Despite the fact that we don’t really declare a political affiliation at this time, our school boards are political,” Meltzer said during the event. “I think we saw in our last cycle for school boards a significant increase in the number of school board elections that were being funded by outside sources and candidates hiding behind the fact that they were declared political parties. There was no need to do so, and when I was knocking on doors and talking to constituents, I was getting the feedback that they wanted him to declare a party. They thought it increased transparency.

Another bill discussed, HB 1406, co-authored by Lauer, would link Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. and five other school corporations into a high school equivalency pilot program.

“There were previous pilots, and this is an expansion of that pilot,” Lauer said during the meeting. “…and what this[pilot]is going to do is really give more opportunity to[students]who haven’t completed high school or not to really focus and provide additional support and work for these individuals are at risk of not graduating. are able to just go out and complete their high school to get their degree and hopefully take that extra step once they’re exposed to other opportunities along the way. But I think We’ve seen this program have a positive impact, and the whole goal is to make sure we’re not losing track of individuals who are at risk of dropping out and not completing their high school education.”

According to the latest version of the bill, other school corporations joining the pilot program include Elwood Community Schools Corp., Anderson Community Schools, Clark-Pleasant Community Schools Corp., Center Grove Community Schools Corp. and Greenwood Community. school corporation

Walker was asked about SB 368, which would establish an early childhood care and education pilot program that would provide a cost-sharing approach to early childhood care and education. Under the pilot program, according to the current version of the bill, participating employers, the state and the parent or guardian would pay one-third of the cost for each eligible child’s care.

Currently, Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciuszko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties are listed as participating counties.

While Walker is not an author or co-author of the bill, he chairs the Family and Children’s Services Committee, where the bill is pending.

“I think there is broad support (for the bill),” Walker said. “…I think there is a widespread recognition that it is a business-friendly and family-friendly necessity.”

A question submitted to the public was asked by “a parent of a child with gender dysphoria,” referring to bills introduced by Lauer and other members that would “prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming care to minors.” wanted to understand the passage of the law”. of the Indiana General Assembly.

Lauer wrote HB 1231, which prohibits health care professionals in Indiana from providing sex reassignment surgery, puberty blockers, hormone therapy to children under the age of 18, among other treatments intended to identify them as a gender different from sex. Help with presentation. Birth certificate, as per a copy of the bill.

The measure would also prohibit public funds from being used to reimburse or cover procedures for minors, prohibit the distribution of public funds to organizations providing gender-confirmation procedures, and penalize medical providers who subject them to civil liability. anyway provide treatment for.

Lauer defended his support for his bill, saying that he was “surprised” that these procedures and treatments “have come so quickly, not only for our culture, but for our state.”

“My bill bans surgery on children, puberty blockers and cross-sex sex hormones that stunt the growth of children that have consequences — that there are no long-term studies that we know of — but we are seeing some harmful These very consequential times during a child’s development and growth have effects only a few years later,” Lauer said. “…I think we have a duty to protect these children, and I believe the time has come to do something about it. So, there are other bills in the House that have similar goals, and we’ll see where the legislation goes as we begin the debate.

Walker, for his part, has signed on as a co-author on SB 480. The Senate bill would prohibit a physician or other practitioner from knowingly providing a sex-transition procedure to a person who is under the age of 18 for the purpose of changing the minor’s sex or delaying puberty.

Walker said he signed the bill “to communicate some of the long-term effects of administering estrogen and testosterone or other agents that there is no physiological, medical need (or) indication for these particular hormones.”

“I hope this is not seen as prejudice or bias against children and their families who seek this type of medical treatment, but there does seem to be a growing wave of requests for this type of treatment, and I Want to better understand whether there are long-term effects of estrogen and testosterone on development if, over time, gender preference changes back from biological beginnings, and whether that causes long-term harm? Walker said. “I’m aware of those data. Which talks about the mental anguish that can result from people who are or want to be or believe in gender transitioning. There is unfortunately a lot of mental suffering in a lot of kids these days, and I’m not sure we have a good handle on why it all happens.

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