TERRE HAUTE — Gov. Eric Holcomb revealed his 2020 agenda for the state in a speech Tuesday afternoon. Here are a few things to know about his agenda, and how they will affect you.
Gov. Holcomb will push for a new distracted driving law to replace the current one that officials say is unenforceable. The current law only prohibits texting while driving, but doesn’t outlaw sending tweets or reading emails, for example. Under a hands-free law, you could still use your phone, you just couldn't be holding it while you drive. You could use GPS or a phone call through Bluetooth or on speaker.
He also will push for better safety regulations in construction zones. Officials with INDOT and the governor’s office started a task force to identify the best ways to keep construction workers safe. One of those ways could include a camera system in construction zones, which most likely wouldn’t come until 2021.
More International Flights
Off the initial success of the nonstop flights from Indianapolis to Paris in 2018, Holcomb is looking to expand the program and bring more direct flights to international cities.
Mexico City and other European cities are being targeted, officials say.
Removing Mandatory Professional Growth Training for Teachers
Holcomb wants to repeal a law enacted just this year that requires Indiana teachers to complete a 15-hour externship with a company to renew their license. The goal of the legislation was to broaden teachers’ understanding of the workforce so they would know what their students will face at graduation, but it was one of the things teachers rallied against on Red for Ed Day on Nov. 19.
Smoking in Indiana
There was some discussion about this issue in the 2019 legislative session, but it never came to fruition. It looks more likely this year, with both Holcomb and House Speaker Brian Bosma on board.
With more than 95% of smokers starting before age 21, the state is trying to keep youths from beginning the habit. Nearly two dozen states have raised their smoking age to 21, and it looks as if Indiana will follow suit in 2020.
Supporting Pregnant Women in the Workplace
Holcomb will support legislation to give pregnant women accommodations in the workplace, such as more frequent breaks or temporary job restructuring. Nearly 30 other states have similar laws in place.
The goal of the new law would be to improve the state’s infant and maternal mortality rate. Rep. Karen Engleman, R-Corydon, introduced a bill that would do this in the 2019 session, but it died without a hearing.