Bartholomew County legislators’ bills move to Indiana Senate

Bills from two Bartholomew County legislators are moving on to consideration in the state senate.

According to the offices for State Rep. Ryan Lauer and Rep. Jennifer Meltzer, bills to help find neglected children new homes and to close a loophole on whether an animal tranquilizer should be a controlled substance have cleared the Indiana House.

Lauer, a Columbus Republican, authored a bill to allow abused and neglected children who have been removed from their home to more quickly find a permanent home if it isn’t safe to reunify them with their parents.

Lauer said that children can wait for more than a year in temporary care while their case is making its way through the system. But the Department of Child Services is not currently required to make a backup plan for a permanent placement if the reunification isn’t possible. Which means even more time in foster care.

Under Lauer’s bill, if the child has been removed from the home for 12 out of the past 22 months of the case, DCS would have to come up with that alternative plan. Lauer said other states already require concurrent planning

Meltzer, a Shelbyville Republican, authored a bill that will make xylazine, a large animal sedative, into a controlled substance. The bill would require a prescription to possess xylazine or the holder could face criminal penalties.

Meltzer, vice chair of the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee said xylazine is being mixed with heroin as a street drug. She said her legislation would give law enforcement a new tool to get the drug off the streets.

There would be exceptions such as for pharmacists and veterinarians.