Hancock County News

Senator Crider highlights agenda items for legislative session

For Mike Crider, the fact that the 2020 Indiana legislative session, which begins January 6, is a short one only means the senator will have to push harder to get his legislation passed.

 

That sits just fine with the Greenfield Republican.

 

Crider told Giant FM there are three big bills dealing with criminal law that he's looking to get passed. 

 

"The first looks at eliminating the statue of limitation on sex crimes committed against a child. One looks at enhancing the penalties for a purchaser of a person under the age of 18 under the human trafficking law and one seeks to enhance the penalties for a person who causes the injury or death of a police canine," Crider told Giant FM.

 

In addition, Crider will look at another area he has tried to make an impact in during his tenure in the Statehouse -- mental health. He told Giant FM he has three mental health related bills.

"One requires a school that seeks grant funding under the provision I passed last year for mental health in schools to have an established relationship with an approved community mental health provider. Another bill looks at the issue of parity for mental health coverage as compared to physical health coverage from insurance providers and requires a report as to how insurance companies are complying with state and federal law. The third bill creates a mental health commission to look at mental health services in the state. Where are the gaps, where and how efficiently is the money flowing and are we capturing all of the federal dollars that we can? Indiana has received approval to do more in this area and so I think it's time to take a long look at how we can help more people who are struggling," Crider said.

 

One area Crider doesn't expect much discussion this session is teacher pay, despite a large statewide rally last year during Organization Day at the Statehouse.

 

"I doubt that teacher pay will be addressed since any raise has to have perpetual funding and that is best considered as we put our next budget together. We are also waiting on the report from the commission the governor established to look at this issue and more. I do believe teacher pay will be a priority issue during the next session," Crider said.

 

In recent years and months, states bordering the Hoosiers State have passed laws legalizing medical and recreational marijuana.

 

Crider told Giant FM there will be a "number of bills to decriminalize marijuana or make it legal in some fashion."

 

However, he said he doubts any of them will get traction.

 

"It will likely be some time and require some movement on the feds part before that discussion becomes serious here. Lots of questions about is THC necessary to gain any perceived medical benefits, if so how much and does CBD oil fit that requirement? And the issue of smoking and mental health issues around the regular use of marijuana. There is data and studies both sides and neither is overwhelming," Crider said.