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Issues facing Hoosier children may wait next legislative session

After a 2013 session that produced several significant bills on children’s issues – including creation of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children – lawmakers say the 2014 session could be much quieter on the subject.

The panel has purview over more than 30 boards and committees dealing with children’s issues.  Those issues include access to resources for vulnerable youth, mental health issues, drug abuse among young people and infant mortality.

Two meetings in, Representative Gail Riecken (D-Evansville) says the commission is in the process of connecting many of the departments and agencies that deal in some way with children’s issues.

“There’s a real desire to build and provide progress and not to overlap.  And they’re finding that there are opportunities to work with other departments so that they don’t reinvent the wheel; I’ve heard that over and over again.”

Representative Rebecca Kubacki (R-Syracuse) says the commission needs time to prioritize areas of need in children’s issues…and providing that time may require the legislature to hold off on major policy changes next session.

“Before we do anything, prioritize what we need to do and then take action plans.  And running things through just because we want to say we’ve accomplished something isn’t always the wisest thing.”

Riecken says she at least hopes the General Assembly will produce legislation next session addressing prescription drug abuse in pregnant women.  

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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