Lindauer’s bills focus on telehealth, ditch regulations


JASPER — Telehealth access and ditch regulations are the two biggest issues State Rep. Shane Lindauer, R-Jasper, will push for in the bills he is filing for the next legislative session.

The session starts Monday.

Lindauer is submitting a bill that would ease some of the restrictions the state has on telehealth services, to make it more accessible to residents that need the services.

“We’re in a rural part of the state,” he said, “so this could improve access to a variety of medical professionals that maybe we don’t have access to now.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb did this same thing in an executive order because of COVID. Lindauer wanted to make those changes more permanent.

“We have telehealth, but there are some areas in code where it’s a little fuzzy. So this is clarifying some things,” Lindauer said. “This is even more even more important now, where people could potentially not have to leave their home and still get needed medical care.”

Lindauer plans to refile the ditch bill that he submitted last year, as part of his efforts to ease some regulatory burdens on farmers.

“We’re trying to find ways we can ease some of the regulatory burden and make the process a little simpler,” he said. “It’s not exclusively for farmers, but that’s who I hear from the most.”

The bill, which did not get a hearing in the last session, would have changed the wording in a rule to would allow farmers more flexibility to make improvements on their property.

“I dealt with two farmers in our area who had levies on their property that had been built decades ago. One had failed and one was beginning to fail,” Lindauer said.

Between the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the farmers were told that they could not rebuild the levees.

An exception can be made to the state’s rules if the levee’s failing would cause a risk to life and property.

“Because they were basically farm fields right you couldn’t show that life was at risk. So I was trying to change that ‘and’ to an ‘or.’ So it would be life or property,” Lindauer said. “That would maybe allow a little more flexibility or leeway to allow them to fix their levees, which have been there for decades.”

Lindauer said that he may a couple of items to the bill. “I had other items in it last year but it got whittled out,” he said.

Lindauer also plans to file a bill that would eliminate the rule requiring every county commissioner to go to road school every year. Lindauer heard this suggestion from a local county commissioner, and he agrees.

“That should be more of a local decision,” Lindauer said. “Let local people make that decision. So this is, hopefully, making it a little easier for the local people to make local decisions.”

Lindauer represents District 63 in the Indiana House of Representatives. District 63 encompasses Bainbridge, Boone, Columbia, Hall, Harbison, Madison and Marion townships in Dubois County and parts of Pike, Daviess and Martin counties.

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