Chamber Pushing For Healthier Indiana

Posted: Updated:
Legislative leaders previewed the session at Monday's annual Chamber Luncheon. Legislative leaders previewed the session at Monday's annual Chamber Luncheon.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says much of its focus for next year's legislative session will be pushing measures that improve the state's health. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brinegar says smoking costs Indiana businesses more than $6 billion per year in higher healthcare costs, lost productivity and absenteeism. The chamber is again supporting a cigarette tax increase of $2 per pack and raising the legal smoking age to 21. Brinegar says, while the opioid epidemic is getting a lot of nationwide attention, tobacco is a "far greater problem" when it comes to public health and business impact in Indiana.

During an interview with Inside INdiana Business reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Brinegar also outlined the chamber's stance on medical marijuana. He says until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves marijuana for a valid medical purpose, the chamber will remain opposed. Brinegar also says that chamber and business leaders from states where it is legal have told him that, in many cases, workplace injuries increase and productivity goes down.

The chamber has already spoken out in favor of bias/hate crime legislation. Brinegar has said such a statue is "not only the right thing to do, it is also important to helping our employers recruit and retain talented employees." During today's Legislative Preview Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-88) said legislation allowing for longer sentences for hate crimes could and should pass both houses.

The chamber is also supporting legislation to move up the year that the state school superintendent will become an appointed, rather than elected position. The change is currently sent for 2025, but Brinegar says there is an argument to make the transition earlier since current Superintendent Jennifer McCormick has announced she is not running again.

Brinegar is also pushing more support for Governor Eric Holcomb's Next Level plans as well as continued evaluation of the state's workforce development program.

You can see the chamber's full list of priorities by clicking here.

  • Perspectives

    • World Refugee Day Shines Light on Untapped Pool of Talented Workers

      From Fortune 500 companies to local small businesses, a similar theme rings true. In this strong economy where unemployment is low and growth is high, companies are competing for top talent. In Indianapolis - according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics - unemployment is just 2.8 percent, and investment and job growth are on the rise. This is great news for Indianapolis-area residents looking for work or opportunities to advance their careers, but for businesses and...


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


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Lilly Exec Named BioCrossroads CEO

      After a national search, BioCrossroads has announced Patty Martin will become the life science initiative's next president and chief executive officer. Martin, who most recently served as chief operating officer for Lilly Diabetes, will begin her new role Monday. She will become just the third CEO in the organization's 17-year history, and succeeds David Johnson, who in December announced plans to step down from the role to serve as president and CEO of the...

    • (file photo courtesy of Radial)

      Radial Opens Fulfillment Center in Brownsburg

      Pennsylvania-based Radial Inc. says its new fulfillment center in Brownsburg is now open. The e-commerce technology and operations company says the nearly 700,000-square-foot facility is the largest in its network and will have the capacity to house about 2,000 employees.

    • Holcomb will chair the 2019 conference, set for November 7 in Indianapolis.

      Janet Holcomb to Chair Conference For Women

      Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb will serve as chair for this year's Indiana Conference for Women. Nearly 2,000 people are expected to attend the ninth annual conference, in Indianapolis in November. Holcomb's career includes a stint as vice president of her family's bolt and fastener manufacturing business, R&R Engineering. She has also led fundraising efforts for political campaigns as well as nonprofit organizations focusing in areas including animal welfare, arts and...

    • (rendering courtesy of Jones Development Co.)

      New Business Park Planned for Whiteland

      Missouri-based Jones Development Co. has begun construction on a new business park in Johnson County. The 2.4 million-square-foot Whiteland Exchange will be located on 167 acres near I-65 in Whiteland.  Financial terms of the developer's investment in the project were not disclosed. The business park is slated to include modern industrial buildings for logistics, advanced manufacturing and related uses. Work is underway on the first two speculative buildings, which total nearly...

    • Franciscan Health Details Data Breach

      Mishawaka-based Franciscan Health is providing details of a data breach. The health system says an internal investigation found one of its employees accessed the protected health information of about 2,200 patients "without a business reason."  Franciscan says the vast majority of the affected medical records was limited to demographic information such as name, address, email address, date of birth, phone number, gender, race/ethnicity, the last four digits of...