Tippecanoe Co. lawmakers preview 2018

Indiana lawmakers are back at the Statehouse. Wednesday marked the start of this year's short legislative session. News 18's Kayla Sullivan reports what some Tippecanoe County Representatives hope to accomplish in the next ten weeks.

Posted: Jan. 3, 2018 6:19 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY (WLFI) — After 36 years in office, State Rep. Sheila Klinker knows what it takes to be heard.

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"You know in a short session, they're only going to address so many issues," said Klinker. 

She said 'big money' issues take time.

"But if it's a crisis situation like the opioid abuse and mental health treatment and addiction services, I think we need to probably find a way to address those issues this session," said Klinker. 

That's why Klinker is filing a bill that would tax e-liquids.

"And that revenue would go to mental health and addiction services immediately," said Klinker. 

Since there isn't much in the state budget for funding this session, she thinks this is a reasonable solution.

"We have taxed cigarettes throughout the years over and over again," Klinker added. 

Klinker also wants to give veterans property tax deductions and teachers more incentives.

"Because we do have a teacher shortage right now," said Klinker. "We want our very best and brightest to go into the teaching profession."

This year marks State Rep. Sally Siegrist's second session in office. She's excited to propose a bill to help stop human trafficking. She hopes to redefine and separate sex and labor trafficking.

"Because they are two very different crimes and possibly even need different penalties," said Siegrist.

She's also working to modernize the Bureau of Motor Vehicles so you can do almost everything at the BMV online. And Siegrist wants to stop what's known as lunch shaming by making sure schools make it difficult to identify which students are on free and reduced lunch.

"That is a cause of bullying," added Siegrist. 

Both Siegrist and Klinker agree addiction and mental health treatment should be a priority this session.

"It isn't getting better and therefore, we are going to have to do something right now," said Klinker. 

News 18 plans to catch up with Senator Ron Alting to get his agenda for 2018. He was unavailable for an interview Wednesday but as we've previously reported, Alting said this could be the session to lift the ban on Sunday alcohol sales in Indiana.

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