INDIANAPOLIS—The 2020 legislative session is officially underway, and State Senator Frank Mrvan (D-Hammond) has introduced legislation focusing on sexual and domestic violence prevention, raising the minimum wage and increasing mental health education.

Prevention of sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking

Senate Bill (SB) 175 would work to prevent sexual and domestic violence and stalking at post-secondary education institutions. The bill would require these institutions to establish a comprehensive policy explicitly outlining the necessary steps to address reports of sexual and domestic violence and stalking. It would also require students and employees to be trained to properly deal with these incidents. Under SB 175, post-secondary educational institutions would have to designate at least one individual to serve as a confidential adviser for students who are victims of these crimes.

“I am very concerned with the safety of our students at colleges and universities in Indiana,” Sen. Mrvan said. “My bill would increase awareness of sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking and provide resources to students in order to cut down on the frequency of these violent activities on college campuses.”

Minimum wage

SB 176 would increase Indiana’s minimum wage incrementally over the next four years to $15 an hour. Once the minimum wage has reached $15 an hour, the bill also ties the state’s minimum wage to the consumer price index to provide for continued increases.

“While most states have been increasing their minimum wage, Indiana’s has remained stagnant for over a decade,” Sen. Mrvan said. “Raising the minimum wage is imperative to support those who depend on hourly jobs to provide for their families, especially with the rising cost of living in Indiana.”

A study that was released last year by The National Low Income Housing Coalition found that a Hoosier worker must earn $16.02 an hour to afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Indiana.

“Right now, our minimum wage falls far below that and, as a result, many Hoosiers are struggling. My bill would help address that issue over the next several years.”

Mental health education and screenings

SB 378 would require Indiana schools to include mental health wellness education in their health education curriculum.

“The overall health of our Hoosier children is incredibly important, and that includes mental health,” Sen. Mrvan said. “My bill would increase mental health education and resources in our schools—something that would be very beneficial for students who are struggling with mental health issues and are in need of support. When a student is dealing with social or emotional trauma without help, his or her mood, focus and ability to perform well in school all become affected. My bill would ensure that students have the support and resources they need to promote mental health wellness.”

The bill also allows school corporations to provide mental health screenings to students with written consent from a parent or guardian.

Committee Assignments

For the 2020 session, Senator Mrvan serves as the Ranking Minority Member on the following Senate Committees: Homeland Security and Transportation, Local Government and Veteran Affairs and The Military. Sen. Mrvan also serves on the Education and Career Development, Ethics, and Health and Provider Services Committees.