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Indiana House passes Shackleford’s traffic amnesty and prescription pricing bills

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INDIANAPOLIS – Bills authored by Representative Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) that would create a traffic amnesty program and enable the state to study the impact of rising prescription drug prices were passed with overwhelming support Tuesday in the Indiana House.

House Bill 1141 would establish a temporary traffic amnesty program for citizens with suspended driver’s licenses due to unpaid traffic fines. In order for someone to participate in the amnesty program, a person must provide proof of insurance, be eligible for the reinstatement of driving privileges, and pay the remaining fees they owe at a discounted rate.

The level of financial assistance is based on the income level of the petitioner. For citizens with incomes greater than 125 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), their total fees would be reduced by 50 percent, while individuals with an income less than 125 percent of the FPL will have fees reduced by 80 percent.

“There are currently an estimated 400,000 Hoosiers with a suspended driver’s license because of unpaid traffic fines and reinstatement fees,” Shackleford said. “Many of these Hoosiers are unable to make the payment because they don’t have the money for these fees. On top of that, without the ability to legally operate their vehicle, some people are forced into a situation where they might not be able to get to work. Having this legislation pass through the House gets us one step closer to helping these Hoosiers pay a fee that they can afford, so they can get their license back and continue to work and contribute to their community in a positive way.”

House Bill 1029 would enable the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services to look at the effect high drug prices have on the ability of Hoosiers to afford treatment.

The study would include input from several stakeholders to ensure a holistic view of drug pricing and access, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, wholesale distributers, pharmacies, health insurers, and pharmacy benefit managers.

“Our goal is to provide the people of Indiana with a better idea of what we can do to make prescriptions more affordable,” Shackleford said.  “In order to address this issue, we must study it first and I am happy to see my fellow representatives standing up for Hoosiers by taking that first step.”

Both pieces of legislation will now move to the Senate for further action.

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