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Second ISSCH Rally Takes Place at Statehouse
April 1, 2009 - Supporters of the Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home gathered again at the Statehouse Monday morning for a second rally aimed at persuading lawmakers to stop the Home’s closure.
Diana (Holden) Bossingham, a 1973 graduate of the Home’s Morton Memorial and current president of the ISSCH Alumni Association, estimated that about 250 people attended Monday’s rally. A similar rally held in late January drew a comparable number to the Statehouse.
According to Bossingham, Monday’s rally featured 10 speakers, including three state lawmakers, three alumni, and representatives of the American Legion, the Amvets Department of Indiana and the Knightstown Town Council, and a former state health commissioner. Both before and after the rally, she said Home supporters made an effort to “meet and greet” lawmakers and garner backing for their cause.
Terry Guerin, vice president of the Knightstown Town Council was one of the speakers at Monday’s rally. He told The Banner his comments were geared toward reminding lawmakers and the governor that closure of the Home would also put more than 170 people out of work, something that would significantly impact not only these individuals and their families, but also the local economy.
The Indiana State Department of Health, which oversees administration of the ISSCH, announced in early January that it plans to close the Home in May, at the end of the current school year. Since then, the American Legion, the ISSCH Alumni Association and other Home supporters have led an organized effort to stop the closure.
The House of Representatives voted 81-17 on Feb. 24 to pass House Bill 1722, which would keep the Home open. This legislation, authored by Rep. Scott Reske (D-Dist. 37), would take oversight of the Home away from the ISDH, change the school’s name to the Morton Residence Academy and run it year-round with “an age appropriate military structure.”
The day after it passed in the House, HB 1722 was sent to the Indiana Senate, where it was assigned to the Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure for first reading. As of Tuesday, that committee, which is chaired by Sen. David Long (R-Dist. 16) of Fort Wayne, the Senate’s president pro tempore, had not scheduled any meetings to consider HB 1722 or any other legislation assigned to it.
The Senate’s Rules Committee is comprised of 11 other members in addition to Long, including seven other Republicans and four Democrats: Richard Bray (R-Dist. 37), Beverly Gard (R-Dist. 28), Lindel Hume (D-Dist. 48), Tim Lanane (D-Dist. 25), Connie Lawson (R-Dist. 24), Teresa Lubbers (R-Dist. 30), James Merritt (R-Dist. 31), Vi Simpson (D-Dist. 40), Connie Sipes (D-Dist. 46), Brent Steele (R-Dist. 44), and Thomas Wyss (R-Dist. 15).
Persons wishing to contact members of the Senate's Rules Committee can mail correspondence to them at the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204. Senators can also be contacted by e-mail at e-mail addresses that begin with a lowercase letter "s" followed by the senator's district number, then "@in.gov." For example, the e-mail address for Committee Chairman Long is firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be reached by calling (317) 232-9400 or (800) 382-9467.
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