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State Rep. Robin Shackleford announces 2022 legislative agenda

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS - Chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) and Ranking Minority Member of the Public Health Committee, State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis), recently announced her legislative agenda for the 2022 Legislative Session. 

Shackleford has introduced legislation to address a wide range of issues facing our state, including mental health, disparities in health care, infant mortality, minority business opportunities and child care:

 

House Bill (HB) 1018 protects Hoosiers’ access to health insurance by ensuring they don’t lose coverage eligibility due to incarceration, temporary substance or chemical use or other circumstances. The bill tackles the growing mental health and substance use disorder crisis head on by requiring the Division of Mental Health and Addiction to establish a program to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction. It addresses the opioid epidemic by requiring treatment programs to provide referrals to continuing care and hospitals to establish protocols for emergency room patients experiencing an overdose. 

“The number of Hoosiers experiencing mental illness and suffering from substance misuse has only grown since the pandemic,” Shackleford said. “With a 41% increase in drug overdose deaths in 2020, it is time to create a system that addresses root causes and provides Hoosiers with the resources to overcome their struggles, instead of focusing on punitive measures like incarceration.”

 

HB 1065 aims to address disparities in health care by requiring a cultural awareness and competence training program for health professionals. The bill’s requirement for the state health data center to maintain statistics concerning race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status will help identify gaps in care and provide information for evidence-based solutions.

“Ensuring health care providers receive adequate training on cultural competence and implicit bias will facilitate improved communication and empathy between patients and providers,” Shackleford said. “With existing disparities in health outcomes and numbers from the 2020 Census showing growing diversity in our state, it is more important than ever to address underlying bias that may affect patient outcomes.”

 

HB 1066 expands the state Safety P.I.N. (protecting Indiana’s newborns) grant program which supports the state’s goal of reducing infant mortality rates by providing grant funding to innovative programs aimed at combating infant mortality. 

“Currently, Indiana has 33 counties that are considered OB deserts, expanding the Safety P.I.N. grant program will allow more resources to address infant mortality to be distributed to communities that need it most,” Shackleford explained. “HB 1066 provides a common-sense solution to protecting vulnerable Hoosier mothers and infants.”

 

HB 1067 requires the Division of Family Service to continue waiving copays for eligible families and reimburse eligible providers using funds under the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) until the federal pandemic emergency ends. It also urges the Legislative Council to study the state of child care in Indiana.

“This bill will ensure Hoosier families have access to federal funds that have been made available to support the state’s child care system,” Shackleford said. “We must not cut families off from vital resources that will allow parents to afford to return to work with the peace of mind that their child will be cared for in a high-quality facility. We must also commit to address the fact that a recent study revealed Indiana has zero counties that have adequate access to child care by studying the state of child care during the next interim.”

 

HB 1164 will appropriate federal relief funds to support minority-owned small businesses through outreach, technical assistance, mentorship, group purchasing, an African-American owned community development financial institution (CDFI) and a grant program.

“Although the number of minority-owned business is increasing, there are remaining barriers to opportunity,” Shackleford explained. “This legislation is a step toward addressing disparities through thoughtful utilization of federal dollars. Indiana should take full advantage of federal funding that can reduce racial and ethnic disparities in economic opportunities, improve our local communities and bolster our overall state economy.”

 

Visit https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2022/legislators/legislator_robin_shackleford_1128/ to track the progress of Shackleford's legislation.

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