State Representative Chuck Moseley prioritizes everyday Hoosiers this legislative session
INDIANAPOLIS - State Representative Chuck Moseley (D-Portage) has introduced legislation to address some of the most pressing issues that are faced by Hoosiers – including proposals impacting education, work zone safety and veteran homelessness.
The veteran lawmaker said his top priority for this legislative session will be easing the burden textbook fees put on parents of children attending Indiana’s public schools.
House Bill 1508 would create a tax credit to reimburse parents for textbook rental fees. Instead of introducing legislation that eliminates textbook fees like his colleagues, Moseley believes the best way to address the issue is by subtracting the fees from state taxes.
“Textbooks can cost parents up to $300 a year, and we cannot expect the school to simply absorb the cost,” Moseley said. “This bill eases the burden on parents without adding a burden to the school corporation or the state.”
The financial burden parents face when sending their kids back to school does not stop with textbooks. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, parents of children in the K-12 range spend on average $236.90 on clothing, $187.10 on electronics, $138.66 on shoes, and $122.13 on school supplies between the months of July and August.
Moseley’s House Bill 1076 would create a sales tax holiday between July 15 and August 15. Under the bill, Hoosier families with children attending Indiana public schools would receive a sales tax exemption for clothing of up to $250 per student and $100 for supplies per student.
“As prices for clothing, electronics and school supplies increase, Hoosier families cannot afford to buy all the items necessary for the upcoming school year,” Moseley said. “We must make sure students are able to obtain all resources necessary for a successful school year without putting families in an unstable financial situation.”
School safety is another issue Moseley is prioritizing this legislative session. Moseley Joined Representative Greg Steuerwald (R-Danville) on House Bill 1225, which creates an active event warning system. This system would use a phone app to summon all available first responders to a school in the event of an emergency such as an active shooter. In order to fund the warning system, school corporations and charter schools can apply for a grant with the local county sheriff from the Secured School Fund.
“This bill is based on a program in Porter County, and it’s really a unique way to address the issue of school safety,” Moseley said. “It is our responsibility to protect each and every student in Indiana. If even one student in Indiana is unsafe, we have failed that job.”
Mosely has introduced legislation that would do more to protect contractors, state employees and private citizens in highway work zones. House Bill 1412 allows for the implementation of speed cameras in highway work zones and the creation of an automated traffic control system pilot program.
Noting that three people are killed every day in the United States due to motor-vehicle accidents in a work zone and there are approximately 40,000 crashes in work zones every year, Moseley said, “Fatalities in construction zones have approached a critical level. We need to be doing more to create safer work environments for both motorists and workers on our highways.”
Another high priority issue Moseley will be addressing this legislative session is Indiana’s large population of homeless veterans. Last year’s point-in-time count for homelessness in Indianapolis found a population of 261 homeless veterans. The total count for homeless individuals In Indianapolis came to 1,682, 53 percent of whom had some form of disability.
Moseley has introduced House Bill 1077, which provides an additional renter’s tax deduction of up to $3,000 to a disabled veteran who is renting a home as their primary form of residence.
“The number of disabled veterans who are currently homeless in our state is unacceptable,” Moseley said. “It is imperative that we provide affordable housing for those who have served our country by fighting for our freedom.”
Moseley is also interested in pursuing legislation addressing Indiana’s abysmal infant mortality rate, nonpartisan redistricting, teacher compensation, and gender pay equity. One such proposal (House Bill 1238) would provide Medicaid reimbursement for Northwest Hoosiers receiving healthcare from a children’s hospital located in Chicago, Illinois, at the same rate they would receive at a children’s hospital in Indiana.
“Indiana has the sixth worst rate for abysmal infant mortality in the nation,” Moseley said. “Hoosiers should be able to do whatever is necessary to keep their children alive without worrying about the cost.”
Moseley indicated he intends to support legislation (House Bill 1386) filed by Representative Pat Boy (D-Michigan City) that would establish a nonpartisan redistricting commission to redraw legislative and congressional districts to put an end to gerrymandering. Moseley also will support Boy’s plan (House Bill 1205) to increase the basic tuition support appropriation for Indiana schools and provide each teacher with a salary increase of up to 5 percent.