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Legislators make a fashion statement in fight against cancer

February 1, 2013
By

02/04/13 Guest Column St. Rep. Tim Harman, House Dist. 17

The Statehouse sounded more like a basketball gym on Monday as the squeak of sneakers could be heard throughout the day. I joined other House legislators and staff, sporting sneakers to work with my suit to raise awareness of preventative measures to fight cancer. This wardrobe change was in support of the “Suits and Sneakers” initiative sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Over the past week, many coaches have worn tennis shoes during games to raise awareness for living a healthy lifestyle and doing what you can to prevent cancer. The challenge was extended to legislators in the House with basketball coaches Greg Lansing (Indiana State) and Todd Howard (IUPUI) making appearances at the Statehouse. Lansing encouraged House members and staff to continue to raise awareness on ways to reduce the risk of cancer; a task we are all capable of doing in the hope of leading to a cure.

Cancer is something that affects thousands of Hoosiers all over Indiana. Just in the last year, 35,000 Hoosiers were diagnosed with cancer. It is so easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed for those battling this deadly disease, but this initiative proved that anyone can help by raising awareness and extending support and compassion to those families affected most by cancer. I encourage everyone to get involved in this fight against cancer – more information can be found at www.cancer.org.

I had the privilege of introducing my first bill in committee this week. I am authoring House Bill (HB) 1561, which addresses the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Pension and Disability Fund (1977 Fund). This fund aids full-time police officers and firefighters through benefits and retirement assistance. Under current law, members of this fund are required to reapply for membership after transferring to another city or job. HB 1561 would eliminate the requirement for members to reapply. This will save local governments over $1,000 for every member who transfers to another job by not having to pay for their reapplication process, which includes an extensive, costly physical.

The 1977 Fund goes a long way to assist the brave men and women who serve and protect our communities. I was eager to carry the torch on this issue, so that these benefits are more convenient and available to them.

I am looking forward to all that will be accomplished this session to improve Indiana’s economy and business climate. It is an honor to participate in the discussion and debate of bills that will help bring jobs to Indiana, educate young Hoosiers and craft a fiscally sound budget.

It is hard to believe I already have the first month of session under my belt. So much has happened here in the last few weeks: work is getting done in committees, bills are passing out of the House, and awareness for cancer has been raised.

As always, I am open to new ideas that you feel will help Hoosiers and ask that you bring to my attention any concerns you may have. Please contact me by email at h17@in.gov or by phone at 317-232-9678.

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