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Governor signs bills regarding environmental regulations, prevention of cancer



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Gov. Eric Holcomb stands before state legislators and other invited guests at his first State of the State address Tuesday night in the Indiana Statehouse. He spoke about his five pillars, which include making new roads and raising the budget for pre-K schooling, of improvement for Indiana. Rose Bythrow Buy Photos

Though the legislative session doesn’t legally conclude until April 28 and will likely finish sooner, Gov. Eric Holcomb has already signed a number of bills, including ones concerning environmental regulations and prevention of cancer, into law.

As of Thursday, the governor had signed nearly 80 bills into law. Here are a few noteworthy ones, and what they’ll mean for the state and its citizens.

House Enrolled Act 1080 — executive director for Commission on Improving the Status of Children

This act, authored by Rep. Dave Frizzell, R-Indianapolis, allows this already existing commission to hire a full-time executive director. The commission works to ensure that children in Indiana have a “safe and nurturing environment,” Frizzell said.

“As a member of the commission, I understand how important it has become to have a central point of contact who will coordinate with multiple task forces and agencies,” Frizzell said in an emailed statement. “House Enrolled Act 1080 strengthens our commitment to Indiana’s children by allowing the commission to hire a full-time executive director.”

The bill says the CISC will assign the executive director’s duties. According to in.gov, the commission as it stands has a four-person executive committee. Former governor Mike Pence signed the bill that established the CISC into law April 30, 2013, and it became effective July 1, 2013.

“It’s crucial that we continue to study and help address issues facing our most vulnerable children and this new law is another step in the right direction,” Frizzell said.

HEA 1278 — cervical cancer prevention

HEA 1278 requires the Indiana State Department of Health to develop a plan that will help reduce mortality from cervical cancer.

According to the Indiana General Assembly website, it also asks the state department to collaborate with the family and social services administration and some cancer facilities around the state.

The bill was authored by Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica.

“The disease is almost entirely preventable by receiving regular screenings, avoiding certain risk factors and getting vaccinated against HPV,” Negele said in a press release. “This law will take steps to educate the public and raise awareness about the ways to prevent and treat this terrible disease.”

HEA 1230 — Regulation of coal combustion residuals

This piece of legislation, authored by Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, amends Indiana’s code on environmental law to be more consistent with regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Specifically, it matches up regulations of the disposal of coal combustion residuals with EPA regulations.

Wolkins said the bill was drafted to allow Indianapolis Power and Light, a utilities company, a one-year extension to compose a strategic plan for their company, as they’re required to do.

Coal combustion products have many uses, such as to be raw material for manufacturing another project or to be used as a base in road construction. Indiana’s environmental community didn’t campaign against this legislation during the session; in fact, it makes environmental policy in the state a bit more strict, Wolkins said.

“We were simply trying to solve a problem,” the lawmaker said. “Now they don’t have to shut down one of their coal power plants.”

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