Rep. Blake Johnson announces priorities for 2021 Legislative Session

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Blake Johnson (D-Indianapolis) today announced his overall legislative priorities and planned legislation for the 2021 Legislative Session.

 Johnson's overall priorities are as follows:

1.       Continuing to Address the Pandemic

“With nearly 570,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 9,000 deaths, this pandemic continues to be the most pressing challenge for Hoosier families - striking at public health, the strength of our economy and the long-term stability of our communities. As I introduce and consider legislation this session, I will do so through the prism of this reality and the recognition that my primary responsibility is to help us build back and to protect our most at-risk neighbors.”

2.       Protecting Educators and Our Students

“Our schools have faced unprecedented uncertainty this year, but they have adapted and tackled each challenge with determination and uncommon resilience, constantly putting kids first. During this Legislative Session, we must make certain that our schools are resourced and that our educators receive the pay increase that is long overdue.”

3.       Fortifying Our Democracy

“Thanks to the long-used tactic of gerrymandering, the political party in power has allowed elected officials to pick their voters rather than voters picking their elected leaders. The result has been Indiana consistently ranking at the bottom in voter turnout, a widening divide in our political discourse and an apathy amongst our constituents about the value of their vote or the efficacy of our politics. As we the Legislature redraw political maps in 2021, we must ensure this process is fair, impartial and transparent.”

4.       Empowering Local Government

“As a former Indianapolis City-County Councilor, I understand the strain that COVID-19 has put on our cities and towns. These communities need the state's support to endure and recover from this pandemic. My position as ranking minority member of the Local Government Committee offers me the opportunity to lend my expertise to these vital conversations and to ensure that local units of government have the flexibility and resources to build back even stronger than before.”

 The legislation Johnson plans to file for the 2021 Legislative Session includes the following topics:

1.       Supporting Small Businesses

“A vibrant and thriving arts and cultural economy doesn’t just contribute to quality of life in our communities, it helps drive talent attraction, fuels local economies and employs tens of thousands of Hoosiers in my district alone. The venues in my district and around the state have suffered significant losses due to the pandemic. For that reason, I’m offering legislation that supports these establishments and helps offset the historic losses they’ve seen.”

2.       Prioritizing Mental Health

“Far too often, our law enforcement officers are being asked to not only address crime, but also to serve on the front lines of growing addiction and mental illness challenges entangling our communities. This is especially true for the officers who work within our healthcare system and mental health facilities. I will introduce legislation that calls on hospitals to require in-services for their officers that prioritize verbal de-escalation, immediate detention and suicide prevention training.”

3.       Making Your Voice Heard

“Indiana is consistently among the worst states in the nation as it relates to voter turnout. The process of registering to vote should not be a barrier to participation. In this Session, I am introducing legislation that would make voter registration a simpler and easier process that utilizes existing state resources, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and ensures more Hoosiers can have their voices heard at the ballot box.”

The 2021 Legislative Session began January 4.

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