June 20th, 2019
The Path Paved with Good Intentions
Remember that time in January you vowed to lose a few pounds … and by May you gained another 10? Well, you have something in common with the State of Indiana. In 2012, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan  set goals for the state’s long-term economic development including measures of health. Since its release, Indiana’s smoking rate has increased to 22 percent, ranking among the 10 worst states in the country. And the obesity ranking has increased from 31 to nearly 34 percent. Meanwhile, despite urgings from the Indiana Chamber, OneZone, and other organizations, Indiana lawmakers have been reticent to adopt policy changes, even though these factors play a part in the retention and retraction of businesses (not to mention costing business an estimated $6.2 billion a year in health costs and productivity). So, let’s take a pass on that fried tenderloin and have a salad, just say no to the after-dinner ciggy, and continue to push for legislation that rewards good behavior.

Study Up for 2020 . Speaking of legislation, assignments have been made to legislators to take a closer look at pending issues during the summer in interim study committees. Of our local Senate reps, Sen. John Ruckelshaus will turn his attention to the Employment and Labor as well as Medicaid Advisory Committee, and Victoria Sparks has been assigned to the Employment and Labor, Legislative Council Audit and Financial Reporting, and Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Human Services committees. While running for Mayor of Indianapolis, Sen. Jim Merritt will be doing his own study in multitasking as he’s serving on NINE of the committees (notably the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force, Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, Criminal Justice Institute, Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications, Legislative Council). Meanwhile, freshman Sen. J.D. Ford will be serving on seven committees including Agriculture and Natural Resources, Employment and Labor, Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, Commerce and Economic Development, the County Jail Overcrowding Task Force and Elections Interim Study Committee. We can’t help but ask … we’ve got committees addressing the “Oral History Project” and “President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust Project,” but we couldn’t get an interim study committee on school safety and mental health? We are still waiting for the House committee appointments. Visit  iga.in.gov to view committee schedules and agendas or to stream interim study committee meetings (Oh Boy!), which are typically held at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

We Didn’t Expect That … or Did We? There had been wisps of innuendo since spring that Congresswoman Susan Brooks might not seek a fifth term, and last week she confirmed that was indeed the case. After 16 years in public service (serving as deputy mayor for Steve Goldsmith and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana before being elected in 2012 to represent Indiana’s 5 th congressional district.), Brooks believes it is the “right time to close this chapter” and spend a little more time with family. Her term runs through Jan. 3, 2021 … meaning Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is coming to a politico near you. The question of the hour isn’t “Who will run?”, but rather “who isn’t running?” for this very important seat. It seems like a good opportunity for a so-inclined woman candidate with a continuing push for more female representation for Indiana. Stay tuned. 

School … and Goat … Roundup . What kid wouldn’t love to have a GOAT at his school? The Fishers City Council Monday night unanimously agreed to amend its development rules to allow two mommy-daughter pairs of goats at Riverside Intermediate School’s outdoor experimental learning space. A small goat house will be constructed adjacent to the existing chicken coop. (YES! Sign me up!) Meanwhile, Hamilton Southeastern’s school board officially welcomed Carmel High School graduate Todd Cripe as the new HSE principal. Cripe taught history at CHS prior to getting his administrator’s license; most recently he served as principal at Tippecanoe Valley High School. Finally, Carmel Clay Schools is considering a shift in the time of day classes begin after numerous studies show that many teens are sleep deprived and require even more shut-eye than their younger siblings. The administrative team has been studying research regarding: A later start time for middle and high school students, adding 30 minutes of time to the elementary school day (allowing for a longer recess!) and implementing a district-wide late start approximately twice a month. FYI, there will be NO changes made this upcoming school year. They are looking for input by parents … click here to learn more and weigh in.