TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Gov. Eric J. Holcomb was in Terre Haute Tuesday to announce his 2020 Next Level Agenda, which focuses on improving the lives of Hoosiers with better health, improved career opportunities and a better place to live.
“Because of the hard work of Hoosiers, Indiana has become a destination of certainty and stability, but we can’t stop there,” Gov. Holcomb said. “As I travel the state, I hear people concerned about rising health care costs, the increase in youth vaping, and our education system. My goal is to listen to their concerns and find solutions to build a bolder, brighter future.”
The 2020 Next Level Agenda includes five pillars detailing both legislative and administrative priorities for the year ahead.
Cultivate a strong and diverse economy
Gov. Holcomb said his 2020 agenda focuses elevating Indiana’s profile through joint branding and promotion efforts with the private sector and the new Indiana Destination Development Corporation with the goal of attracting more jobs and more people.
The state will also build a 21st century defense innovation ecosystem to triple federal defense investment in Indiana by 2025.
Maintain and build the state’s infrastructure
According to Holcomb, his 2020 agenda is designed to connect Hoosiers with reliable infrastructure. To accomplish this goal, Gov. Holcomb said his $1 billion Next Level Connections program will expand broadband service to unserved areas in Indiana, grow the state’s systems of trails and create more nonstop international flights.
The 2020 agenda also focuses on preserving highways and decreasing distracted driving by enacting a hands-free device driving law, Holcomb said.
Develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce
Gov. Holcomb said he will continue to make finding long-term sustainable solutions to improve teacher compensation a top priority by supporting the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission.
The 2020 agenda also includes identifying unfunded mandates and unnecessary requirements in K-12 education for elimination in 2021, holding schools harmless for ILEARN scores, changing career-related teacher professional growth points from required to optional and redesigning the prison education system to better prepare Department of Correction offenders to re-enter society.
Public health and the drug epidemic
Gov. Holcomb is calling for raising the age to purchase tobacco and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 and enhancing enforcement to prevent underage buyers.
The 2020 agenda also includes providing healthcare price transparency for consumers via an “All-Payer Claims Database,” protecting consumers from surprise medical bills, improving mental health services at schools and hospitals and incentivizing more community paramedicine programs.
In the fight against the drug epidemic, the Governor said he wants to add more recovery housing for Hoosiers coping with substance use disorder.
The state will continue to work toward becoming the best state in the Midwest for infant mortality by 2024 by protecting pregnant workers by providing more workplace accommodations.
Deliver great government service
According to Holcomb, his 2020 agenda will save Hoosiers more than $125 million in borrowing costs by using $300 million in cash now to fund capital projects.
Additionally, Gov. Holcomb said he will simplify how Hoosiers reach out for health and human services assistance by integrating the 2-1-1 helpline into FSSA call centers.
“These aren’t just lofty goals – they are solutions to improve the lives of Hoosiers around Indiana,” Gov. Holcomb said. “We are charting a bold course for our state to become the absolute best place in America to grow as an individual, a family, a business and as a community.”
Learn more about Gov. Holcomb’s 2020 Next Level Agenda at http://www.in.gov/gov.