Fort Wayne & NE Indiana News

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Smaltz And Holdman Named Legislators Of The Year

Legislation to fight Indiana’s methamphetamine epidemic and efforts to protect religious freedom and extend civil rights have earned two lawmakers recognition as Legislator of the Year from the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana. The awards were announced today at a meeting of lawmakers and business leaders recapping accomplishments of the 2015-2016 Indiana General Assembly.

Regional Chamber executive director Vince Buchanan said the award honoring Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) is recognition of his determination to limit access to pseudoephedrine for those cooking meth in small homemade labs, while not restricting availability of decongestants for everyone else. “Rep. Smaltz testified about meth’s toll on families, communities and local businesses. He was so effective other lawmakers found it difficult to reject his suggestions for a common-sense compromise that was eventually approved,” Buchanan said. The new law allows pharmacists to require a prescription for decongestants if they do not have an established relationship with the customer, or if they suspect drug-making intent.

Buchanan says the Regional Chamber honored Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) for his efforts to find consensus on protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation. “Sen. Holdman introduced legislation that sought to balance religious freedom and insure that no Hoosier suffers from discrimination. His proposed legislation would have been the most comprehensive and extensive protection of religious freedom of any state in the nation,” Buchanan explained. “Although the bill did not pass this year, we support Sen. Holdman’s determination.”

Buchanan added, “Sen. Holdman and Rep. Smaltz each led on issues that demanded a carefully balanced approach, withstood well-financed, coordinated opposition and stayed true to the goal of delivering meaningful and thoughtful solutions that make Northeast Indiana and the Hoosier state the very best place to live, work, and raise a family. They not only take their responsibilities as elected officials seriously, they wholly embrace the Regional Chamber’s ‘One Region, One Voice’ approach to policies and legislation affecting northeast Indiana.”

The Regional Chamber represents businesses and communities in a 10-county region of Northeast Indiana, focusing exclusively on state legislation and policies that impact the workforce, infrastructure and helping Hoosiers compete in a global economy.