INDIANAPOLIS -- State Rep. Nancy Michael (D-Greencastle) has released details on some of the ambitious legislative proposals she intends to pursue during her first session of the Indiana General Assembly.
Michael said that while the primary focus of the Legislature will be to enact a balanced budget in a poor economic environment, lawmakers can still tackle many other important issues before the General Assembly adjourns in late April. Michael intends to pursue legislation that will foster economic development, help fill a shortage in Indiana's nursing workforce and increase funding and publicity for homeless animals.
Office of Small Business Advancement
To help Indiana weather the economic storm, Michael will introduce legislation that requires the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to establish the Office of Small Business Advancement.
The office would serve as a resource for small, entrepreneurial businesses that are looking for ways to cut costs and remain fiscally solvent during tough economic times. Small businesses could also use the office to determine if they are eligible for state or federal assistance programs.
"Small businesses are the backbone of many Indiana communities, and employ thousands of Hoosiers throughout the state," Michael said. "In times where so much attention is focused on corporate giants, this office would serve as a helping hand for small businesses that might otherwise be ignored.
"Through this office, we can ensure that the unique small businesses that have been part of Indiana's economic landscape for generations continue to prosper," she added.
To help fill a shortage of registered nurses working directly in patient care, Michael will introduce a proposal that would require nursing students who receive state scholarships to become RNs and work in one of four types of acute care facilities in Indiana for at least two years after earning their degrees. The facilities include hospitals, long term or assisted living homes, rehabilitation centers or home health care entities.
Michael said that the current law outlining nursing scholarship requirements is vague. Student nurses who receive state scholarships are not required to become RNs, nor are they required to work in a facility that provides direct patient care.
"The way the current law is written, a nurse could work in a health insurance office and still meet scholarship requirements," Michael said. "Many patient care facilities are struggling to find qualified nurses to fill their staff, and quality of care is suffering as a result. This measure will ensure that scholarship nurses are working in patient care as the original law intended."
Friends of Animal Trust License Plate
Finally, Michael will file a bill to create the Friends of Animal Trust license plate. All proceeds from the sale of the plate will be used to support animal control programs, humane societies and other pet overpopulation efforts.
"The purchase of the plate would be a simple way for Hoosiers to financially support animal care programs and facilities that are struggling because of the economic recession." Michael said. "Like all charitable organizations, animal shelters suffer during a recession. This plate will remind Hoosiers that abandoned, stray and injured animals still desperately need their help."
To contact Rep. Michael regarding her legislative proposals, please contact her Statehouse office by calling (800) 382-9842, e-mailing H44@in.gov or writing in care of the Indiana House of Representatives, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.