INDIANAPOLISOn Tuesday, the Indiana General Assembly convened for the official start of the 2022 Legislative Session. Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) released the following statement on the Senate Democratic Caucus’ 2022 priorities:

“This session, my caucus will continue to demand justice, equality and progress to improve the lives of every Hoosier citizen,” Sen. Taylor said. “We will be advocating for common-sense policies that respond directly to concerns we’ve heard from Hoosiers statewide. While the Republican party fights over government-mandated censorship of colleges and universities, and inserting politics into classrooms, we will be focused on real efforts to improve the quality of life for all Hoosiers.

Three out of four children in Indiana lack access to basic early care and learning opportunities. None of our counties are fully equipped to give our kids the care and opportunity they deserve, and far too many families have to break the bank or leave work because of a lack of access to early childhood education. Investment in quality childcare is a direct investment in our families and our state’s future.

“Cannabis reform is another priority issueover 80% of Hoosiers support legalization in some form, even as Indiana continues to fall behind the times. Common-sense legalization would bring in new revenue streams for the state and create jobs for farmers and small businesses. It would also mean incalculable relief for thousands of veterans and chronically ill Hoosiers who would benefit from medical cannabis. It would also mean that no one goes to jail for something legal in 36 other states.

“As we move into the second full year of the pandemic, demand for mental health services has skyrocketed. Our citizensespecially our studentsare more vulnerable to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues than ever before. Our caucus is looking to support Hoosiers with critical, sometimes lifesaving, mental health services through school-based suicide prevention programs.  

Indiana has emerged as one of the nation’s top evictors during COVID. A combination of insufficient renter protections and a lack of affordable housing has rendered Hoosiers vulnerable to homelessness and housing insecurity. Senate Democrats will be doing everything in our power this session to bolster renter protections, expand affordable housing and ensure that no Hoosier has an eviction on their record due to pandemic circumstances outside their control.

“We enter the 2022 session with no excuses. We have every resource at our disposal to make Hoosiers’ lives easier, healthier, happier and more fulfilling. The only barrier is the will to make these changes. We would do well to remember that our state is measured not by the amount of money we have in our coffers, but by how we use it to build better lives for Hoosiers. Indiana’s successes are due to its citizensit’s time to give back to them.”