Rep. Sheila Klinker focusing on education, local community needs for 2021 Legislative Session

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INDIANAPOLIS — State Representative Sheila Klinker (D-Lafayette) today announced her legislative priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session. All of her bills were inspired by her constituents' concerns, many of whom call her personally to tell her their stories.

“I will focus on my community’s issues and listen to their needs as I have done since I was first elected,” Klinker said. “We need to be extra attentive to individuals’ challenges during this unprecedented time, and I plan to do everything in my power to improve Hoosiers’ livelihoods.”

House Bill 1170

As the original author of the 529 College Choice Plan, Klinker wants to expand it to include the use of dollars for qualified education loan repayments.

“We have to update our laws so they don’t become archaic,” Klinker said. “A college education costs a lot more today; therefore, we need to make it more affordable so graduates aren’t drowning in college loans.”

House Bill 1171

Klinker is already working with a Republican member, who recently lost a loved one to epilepsy,  to add his name to the bill for the Epilepsy Foundation trust license plate. At $15 per year, the money from purchasing the license plate will go to the Epilepsy Foundation of Indiana.

“I have a lot of friends across the aisle, so I am proud to work with them in a bipartisan manner to bring awareness to this disorder,” Klinker said.

House Bill 1174

One of Klinker’s constituents brought to her attention that military personnel deployed overseas still have to pay Indiana taxes. Klinker is now working to lower the tax rate to 1.62% instead of 3.23% to encourage veterans to come back and live in Indiana.

House Bill 1173

Klinker is sponsoring a bill that would incentivize leasing for charitable purposes. If an owner leases a part or all of their building at a substantially lower price for an educational, literary, scientific, religious or charitable purpose, the building would be eligible for a tax exemption.

“There are so many great local nonprofit entities serving our community,” Klinker said. “I hope this bill provides a way for them to rent buildings at an affordable cost so they can continue their work.”

House Bill 1172

A proposal that was suggested by a local doctor would provide a state income tax credit to Indiana physicians who volunteer in a clinical rotation training program for medical students. Clinical rotations are at least 160 hours.

“Now more than ever, we need to grow our healthcare workforce,” Klinker said.

House Bill 1175

Klinker heard a story from a constituent who recently moved to Indiana and could not get a massage therapist licensure, even though she was credentialed in California and had been practicing for seven years. The hours required had increased in Indiana but the schools teaching massage therapy were not open due to COVID-19.

To resolve this issue, Klinker filed a bill for reciprocity between states so massage therapists could practice in Indiana if they received credentials that match or exceed Indiana standards.

“It is very important to me to listen to all my constituents,” Klinker said. “My constituents are the reason I’m here, and I appreciate their input for legislation.”

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