Holcomb unveils 2018 legislative agenda, wants drug-induced homicides charged as felony murders

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Gov. Eric Holcomb unveiled his 2018 legislative agenda Wednesday morning.

Holcomb will focus with lawmakers on five pillars – the economy, infrastructure, workforce, the state’s drug epidemic and government service.

The goals, administration officials said, will be implemented both administratively and through new legislation.

Holcomb wants to spur economic growth by in part enticing Hoosiers who have left the state to return to Indiana. The governor also hopes to increase education and training that will directly link Hoosiers to new jobs.

“We’re turning this thing on its head,” Holcomb said. “Far too often guys like me say we wish Washington D.C. would let us tend to our own affairs. Well sometimes the locals say that about the state.”

Holcomb said the state will work to create a new framework to enable more local control and management of resources to help fill 92,000 jobs employers say they can’t fill.

In an effort to send a message, administration officials said, the governor will seek legislation to ensure drug-induced homicides are charged with felony murder.

The governor’s drug agenda also would improve the state’s overdose reporting, open new treatment centers and require physicians check the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, while also integrating the system.

“We don’t have an ATM machine,” Holcomb said. “It’s not just money that’s needed. It’s also how we conduct ourselves and how we’re organized and how we’re working together and able to more quickly get people into treatment and making sure treatment is closer.”

Holcomb made his opposition known to a push to legalize medical marijuana in Indiana, dismissing the notion as nowhere in line with his goals.

“We’re not there in this state,” he said. “And at this time right now, I’m trying to get drugs off the street, not add more into the mix. And so I’m just not supportive of that.”

The administration also is looking to implement a “new parent leave policy” for state government employees. Details are expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks, Holcomb said through an executive order.

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