Sen. Jim Arnold Focuses Legislation on Veteran Business, Transparency

Senator Jim Arnold

Democrat State Senator Jim Arnold of LaPorte has introduced a number of bills this legislative session on a variety of issues, including price preferences for veteran businesses, better government transparency, and increased public safety.

Senate Bill 271 aims to create opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses to participate in providing purchases and services for state agencies. The bill would require state agencies to have a set goal of veteran-owned businesses contributing at least three percent of purchases for the total dollar amount consumed every fiscal year. The bill would require the Indiana Department of Administration to post on its website and present to the governor and the legislative council an annual report recognizes state agencies that did not meet past fiscal year goals, and would also include the reason for missing the goal and what is being done to correct it.

Senate Bill 160 would require national criminal history checks when school corporations hire new employees – a change over the current law that requires corporations to, at a minimum, perform a state criminal history check. Senate Bill 176 would eliminate the ability of individuals with state and local public works contracts from making political contributions to elected officials, eliminating the “pay to play” mindset. Persons with contracts would need to register with the Indiana Department of Administration.

Finally, Arnold co-authored Senate Bill 226 which aims to suspend local elected officials if they are charged with particular felonies or misdemeanors, requiring two-thirds of the county or city council to determine whether or not the offenses are suitable enough for removal. If the charges are ultimately dropped or they are found not guilty, the officeholder would be reinstated with back pay.