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Roads, Drugs, Education Top Pence's Legislative Agenda

State and local road funding, harsher penalties for drug dealers, and holding schools harmless for a drop in ISTEP scores are some of the initiatives Governor Mike Pence says will be part of his legislative agenda for the upcoming session. Many of the items announced as part of Pence's agenda Monday aren't new.

Pence unveiled his $1 billion dollar state road funding plan months ago, a proposal that spends down the state’s budget reserves and incorporates bonding.  He signed on last month to a Senate Republican local road funding bill worth more than $400 million dollars.

Pence’s drug task force crafted his drug abuse package – bills that include greater availability of the overdose drug Naloxone and providing minors with immunity from drug charges if they seek emergency help.

And the governor has long said he wants teachers and schools shielded from a drop in ISTEP scores.

Pence, who opted not to speak with reporters about his agenda, choosing instead to send out a written statement, added a few new items.  One proposal would create a savings program for families with special needs relatives, allowing them to put money aside for disability-related payments.  Another bill would ensure children who are victims of human trafficking are helped by the Department of Child Services.  And the governor wants to codify HIP 2.0, putting the healthcare program’s structure and objectives into Indiana statute.

Pence is silent on the issue of protecting LGBT Hoosiers from discrimination, which Democrats say puts the state’s reputation further at risk.

The 2016 session begins Tuesday.

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