State Senator Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, introduced a number of bills to
be considered by the 2013 General Assembly last week, three of which update
Indiana’s policies on funding for full-day kindergarten, worker’s
compensation benefits and the decriminalization of marijuana.
Senate Bill (SB) 469, which would make full-day kindergarten enrollment
mandatory no later than the fall term of the school year in which the
student becomes five years of age. Sen. Tallian says it is time to require
and fund full-day kindergarten in a long-term and sustainable way.
“Legislators have made early childhood education a priority for several
years,” said Tallian. “But until now, legislators have skirted funding
full-day kindergarten. So it’s about time we take that step.”
The state currently provides funding for half-day programs and does not
require students to attend kindergarten. SB 469 will require students to
attend full-day kindergarten prior to entering first grade and allow pupils
to be counted as full-time students for funding purposes.
Tallian has also filed a bill to increase insurance benefits for employees
who are injured on the job. SB 470 would increase the weekly amount of
worker’s compensation benefits accrued by an injured person from $975 to
“The legislature raises the benefit level periodically, but this has not
been done for years,” explained Tallian who has filed a version of the bill
every year since 2006. “Indiana now provides some of the lowest compensation
SB 580 would lessen the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana
in Indiana. Following extensive testimony and review during a 2011 study
committee, the proposal's goal is to reduce criminal penalties for personal
possession of small amounts of marijuana. The impact could also mean less
state and local criminal justice resources spent on marijuana-related
arrests, prosecution and sentences.
“We lock up our children. We give them criminal records. We waste valuable
court time and a lot of state money to maintain this prohibition, “ said
Tallian. “As we all know, prohibition does not work.”
The bill would make possession of less than two ounces of marijuana a Class
C infraction, decriminalizing the possession. If a person possesses more
than two ounces or has two or more prior marijuana convictions in the past
five years, the person may be charged criminally, although, the penalties
are reduced from the current criminal statute. The bill also specifies
penalties for driving while under the influence of marijuana and authorizes
the licensed cultivation and production of industrial hemp.
“Whether we’re talking full-day kindergarten, worker’s comp, or marijuana
policy- it’s about time for the legislature to seriously consider these
proposals,” Tallian said.