Teacher Pay, Medical Marijuana Among Senate Dems' Focus

Posted: Updated:
Senators Tim Lanane (left) and Eddie Melton outlined the caucus' agenda Friday. Senators Tim Lanane (left) and Eddie Melton outlined the caucus' agenda Friday.
INDIANAPOLIS -

The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus has unveiled its legislative agenda for the 2019 General Assembly. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-25) says the caucus will be focused on three priorities: raising teacher salaries, protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions and legalizing medical marijuana. The caucus says it will also continue to push for a statewide hate crimes law, as well as legislation to stop gerrymandering.

Lanane announced the caucus' priorities Friday alongside Senator Eddie Melton (D-3). He said Democrats will be seeking bipartisan support for all of the issues, especially the protection of pre-existing conditions which he calls a non-partisan issue.

"Every member of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus will support a proposal requiring insurance companies that operate in Indiana to cover pre-existing conditions," said Lanane. "With all the talk in D.C. of removing this important protection, this bill can prevent insurance companies from circumventing the coverage people in Indiana need the most. No Hoosier, no family, should ever face financial ruin due to a medical bill."

Lanane says it is time that Indiana joins the other 33 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, that have legalized the use of medical marijuana, particularly in light of the opioid crisis throughout the state.

"Medical marijuana is a safe and effective treatment option and we think Hoosiers should have the right to access medical treatment such as medical marijuana if their doctor deems that to be appropriate," Lanane said. "It's been proven that the side effects are modest compared to many of the current prescription drug risks. We all know the issues and the problems that we've had with the opioid situation, so if this an alternative treatment route that can be considered instead of opioids, it seems to me that that's why 33 other states and the District of Columbia have taken a look at this as well."

Melton says the caucus will be seeking a 5 percent increase in teacher pay statewide as part of the next two-year budget. He says that will amount to approximately $150 million and both he and Lanane are confident legislators will be able to find the money to cover the increase.

Melton says Indiana's teachers are "drastically underpaid."

"Teacher salaries in Indiana have not kept up with inflation, meaning their paychecks have remained stagnant since 2009, according to the National Center for Education Statistics," said Melton. "In order to maintain Indiana's strong business climate, we must be prepared to work and build a ready workforce. We know that our teachers are leading that charge and are ready to grow that capacity for the entire state, but we have to show them the support that they need to make sure that happens." 

Melton adds the state needs to continue to attract talent to address its teacher shortage and increasing teachers' pay will help accomplish that.

The Indiana General Assembly will convene Tuesday for Organization Day. The 2019 legislative session will begin January 3.

State Senator Eddie Melton (D-3) says Indiana teachers are "drastically underpaid."
  • Perspectives

    • Time Management: When and How to Work to Your Max Productivity

      Time is the one resource in your life that is neither replenishable nor renewable. Regardless of how you spin it, everyone starts each day on an equal playing field with 24 hours in the time bank. And while people often yearn for more time, what they really need is better time management. Understanding where your time goes, when you are most productive, and why you should protect yourself against distractions are the keys to achieving your max productivity.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Photo courtesy of MutualBank

      MutualBank President Dies

      The President and Chief Operating Officer of Muncie-based MutualBank Pat Botts has died. In a statement on Facebook posted Sunday, the company said the passing was unexpected.

    • Photo courtesy of Indiana Premium outlets

      Simon Announces New Name for Shopping Center

      Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) has announced Edinburgh Premium Outlets will become Indiana Premium Outlets. The company says extensive enhancements are currently underway to reflect the new name and are slated for completion by Holiday 2019. 

    • (file photo courtesy of Radial)

      Radial to Hire 1,800 Seasonal Workers in Brownsburg

      Pennsylvania-based Radial Inc. has announced plans to grow its seasonal workforce in Brownsburg. The company, which opened its 700,000-square-foot fulfillment center in the Hendricks County city in June, says it will add 1,800 workers ahead of the holiday season. Radial is an e-commerce technology and operations company and says a dramatic increase in online spending will lead to higher demand for workers at the new facility this year. The jobs will mainly be...

    • Artist rendering of proposed headquarters for Ruoff Home Mortgage in Fort Wayne.

      Ruoff to Build New HQ in Downtown Fort Wayne

      Fort Wayne-based Ruoff Home Mortgage has announced plans to build a $43 million corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne. Plans call for a 110-thousand square foot, nine-story structure, at the corner of Ewing Street and Jefferson Boulevard. The building would include leasable office and retail space, as well as a parking garage. It would overlook Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne Tin Caps minor league baseball team. The company is currently located on...

    • (photo courtesy of Aptiv)

      Irish Tech Company Coming to Westfield

      An Ireland-based technology company has announced plans to set up operations in Westfield. The city says Aptiv PLC (NYSE: APTV) will invest more than $9 million to open an engineering lab in the Westfield Business Centre and bring in 50 jobs.