Death penalty, dementia among topics lawmakers hope to discuss at Indiana Statehouse

Local News

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The death penalty has become a big topic of discussion across the United States, as federal executions resumed in July 2020 under the Trump administration.

Now, a local lawmaker is hoping that Indiana legislators can have a discussion on the state’s death penalty.

Sen. Philip Boots has authored a bill urging the legislative council to assign a study committee to discuss death sentences in Indiana, along with life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

The committee would also discuss circumstances justifying both legal outcomes.

The bill would create a discussion committee on the state death penalty, which does not have direct implications for the Terre Haute Federal Prison or the execution chamber located there.

The bill was referred to the House earlier this month after passing through the Senate.

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Another piece of legislation is urging action from health insurers in light of the pandemic.

The resolution points to sharp increases in net earnings for health insurers, while state and local health departments became underfunded in their efforts to provide COVID vaccinations.

As an example, the resolution points to the net income of UnitedHealth Group increasing from $3.4 billion to $6.7 billion from the second quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2020. The resolution also uses net income of Anthem Inc., which increased from $1.1 billion to $2.3 billion over a year’s span.

The legislation aims to help fund health departments using some of those earnings from insurers.

Rep. Tonya Pfaff is a co-author for the resolution, which will undergo a voice vote in the House Committee on Public Health.

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The health of aging Hoosiers has been a priority for lawmakers in light of the pandemic, and one bill is focused in on developing a strategic plan to address dementia in Indiana.

The Division of Aging will be tasked with developing the plan, and will then be required to submit an annual report to the General Assembly with updates on trends concerning the diagnosis of dementia, services available for dementia patients, and the costs of services.

Increased awareness of the disease and improvements for treatment will also be a focus of the plan.

The bill passed through the House and is now under committee review in the Senate. Sen. Jon Ford has been named as a Senate sponsor of the bill.


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