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July 24, 2012

Concerns remain over impending closure of Stepping Stones on Friday

In this summer of record heat and a tough, trying economy it’s heart warming to see the flood of support and compassion during the fiasco surrounding the closure of Stepping Stones Daycare ministry at The First Church of God.

Unfortunately, an extension was not granted by the church elders who make the decisions for the congregation so Stepping Stones has fewer than 5 business days to secure a location, set up their program and continue to provide safe, reliable and educational care for our families.

One church representative stated they received a final report on the matter back in April, but the announcement became public on June 29th.  Had the daycare been involved in these initial meetings a different solution could have developed rather than forcing parents and staff to struggle to find care for more than 180 children in a 4 week time period.

Hopefully, when Monday July 30th rolls around these young children (many of whom have created bonds and friendships in these classrooms since they were newborns) will be able to continue their normal daily activities and established routines without the trauma of not knowing where their friends and teachers are.

Let’s hope that subsequent church meetings will be cooperative with regard to the retention of items the daycare received grants for, items donated by the families and the transportation resources they desperately need.

I have witnessed factories loaded on semi-trailers and driven out of small towns just like Columbia City during my career in the construction industry.   The businesses gave up on the communities and their workforce leaving the adults to scramble to find new ways to provide for their families.  But, I hadn’t witnessed a church give up on more than 180 young children requiring parents and loving staff members to work around the clock to secure safe and trustworthy care for those children until now.

Thankfully Whitley County does have wonderful people, organizations and businesses that are going above and beyond expectations to ensure that these children and their caregivers will rise above this and continue to grow stronger.

I’m sure they would appreciate our prayers and any help we can provide during this transition.

Dan Krill


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July 23, 2012

Education, concern for children are top priorities

By Kathy Heuer

Education helps pave the way for bright futures and builds successful communities for generations to come. With that in mind, Hoosier students have always been and will continue to be a priority of mine.

This past session, I supported several pieces of legislation that benefit Hoosier students in areas of transportation and child abuse, and on July 1, those new laws went into effect.
 
A situation arose last year at a local Indianapolis school in which students were being charged to ride the bus to their public schools. This law will protect Hoosier families from being charged for school transportation and prevent this situation from happening again.

According to another new Indiana law, the Department of Education is now required to develop model education materials, response policies and reporting procedures for child abuse when seen in elementary schools in grades two through grade five. This is legislation that has been of the forefront for a long time, and my colleagues and I believe it will be a great benefit to children dealing with abusive circumstances at home.

No child should have to tolerate abuse, nor should their education be compromised because of it. Teachers and administrators will need to put a new focus on students suffering from abuse who need extra help and attention so that they do not fall behind in their academics. It is important for school corporations to have a plan in place to take action in child abuse situations.
 
Finally, this past legislative session we passed a bill that requires the Education Roundtable to create an Advisory Committee on Early Education. This committee will include members from around the state who will continue conversation about early education and provide professional and technical assistance to the Roundtable. Work on education will never be done – there will always be room for improvement, which is why we want to continue the discussion and take additional positive steps that will benefit Hoosier students.

For more information on these new laws, or for a complete list of new Indiana laws, please visit http://www.in.gov/legislative/reports/2012/2012GOV.PDF. As always, please contact me with any questions, concerns or input by calling 317-232-9647 or by emailing H83@in.gov.


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July 19, 2012

Heuer views smoking ban as a positive step for Hoosier health

By Kathy Heuer

Protecting the health of Hoosiers is a priority of mine and my colleagues in the Indiana General Assembly. This session, we took some very positive steps toward building a healthier Indiana. On July 1, Indiana put several new laws into effect regarding public health.

Indiana is now the 30th state to issue a comprehensive smoke-free statute that prohibits smoking in public places (in enclosed areas of a place of employment or within eight feet of a public entrance to a place of employment). Smoking will still be permitted in certain gaming facilities, cigar and hookah bars, fraternal, social and veterans clubs, tobacco stores, bars and taverns. It is a great feeling knowing that Indiana has taken a positive step for Hoosier health.

Along with passing the statewide smoking ban, the Indiana General Assembly passed a new law that will help increase the rate of HIV testing in Indiana. Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV is key to helping HIV patients live longer lives and to preventing the spread of HIV. Unfortunately, too many patients in Indiana are being diagnosed with HIV after they’ve already become symptomatic.

Click here for more health-related legislation and a complete list of new Indiana laws. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or input by calling 317­-232­-9509 or emailing H83@in.gov.


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July 10, 2012

State Representative Heuer provides overview of State's newest laws

By Kathy Heuer

A select few of the new Indiana laws from this past session have already gone into effect. However, the majority just went into effect July 1. It is important that everyone is aware of changes Indiana is making, which is why this will be part one of a four-part series of columns discussing new Indiana laws.

As we celebrate our nation’s independence this week, we remember the men and women who have fought for our freedoms since our nation’s founding. Their selfless acts deserve our recognition and our utmost respect. With that in mind, the Indiana General Assembly stood with our veterans and military personnel by enacting the following legislation:

House Enrolled Act 1059 – Military Family Relief Fund
This law extends the application deadline for grants from the Military Family Relief Fund from one year to three years. Grant monies can be used to help pay for food, housing, utilities, medical services, basic transportation, child care, education, employment or workforce, and other essential family support expenses. The grant is available for a service member or a service member’s family and is funded by the sales of “Hoosier Veteran,” “POW-MIA” and “Support Our Troops” license plates.

I supported HEA 1059 because veterans need our support when they return from active duty. It can be difficult for our veterans to adjust to life when returning home, and it is important to do whatever possible to help them have a smooth transition.

House Enrolled Act 1116 – Military Education & Training
This law requires all state educational institutions to adopt a policy to award educational credit to a former or current military person who enrolls in a state educational institution after successfully completing courses that are part of their military service. The courses taken while in the military must meet the standards of the American Council on Education and meet the state educational institution’s role, scope and mission.

Too often, soldiers complete courses as part of their military training but are unable to receive credit at the institutions in which they are enrolled. I supported this legislation because it will help our soldiers save money and receive college degrees in a timely matter.

House Enrolled Act 1065 – Military Custody & Parenting Time Matters
Servicemen and women facing divorce and child custody proceedings at the time of their deployment are often unable to attend or set a hearing because of their military duties. This new law allows an expedited hearing in determining child custody and also allows the servicemen or women to delegate their parenting time to a person who has a close and substantial relationship with the child as long as the court determines it is in the child’s best interest.

I supported HEA 1065 because it will provide parents in the military with the flexibility they need to make the best arrangements for their child’s care while they are away on duty. This law will also ensure that the best interests of children are being met.

Click here for a complete list of new Indiana laws. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or input by calling 317­-232­-9509 or emailing H83@in.gov.


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