Lyness, Ziemke support bill desighed to improve public health

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 17, 2021) – The Indiana House of Representatives voted on Tuesday in support of legislation establishing a new public health grant program, according to State Reps. Randy Lyness (R-West Harrison) and Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville). Ziemke represents part of Decatur County in the Indiana House.

“Our state continues to be near the bottom for several health rankings nationally,” Lyness said.  “As Hoosiers, we can do better and these grants could provide new tools to fight the most critical health issues we are facing.”

Under the proposed legislation supported by Lyness and Ziemke, the grant program would fund initiatives aimed at addressing the most challenging health issues in Indiana. According to the United Health Foundation’s 2020 American Health Ranking, Indiana falls at the bottom of several categories, including smoking rates, obesity rates, physical inactivity and multiple chronic conditions.

“Addressing public health remains a priority as we continue to fight COVID-19, which disproportionately impacts those with underlying health conditions,” said Ziemke, a member of the House Public Health Committee. “This grant program could help address our state’s main health issues and focus on improving the wellbeing of Hoosiers across the state.” 

According to Ziemke, the grant program is based on the state’s successful Safety PIN program, which provides funding to local health organizations to lower Indiana’s infant mortality rate. She said through Safety PIN and other targeted programs, Indiana reached a record-low infant mortality rate last year for the first time in our state’s history.

The Indiana Department of Health would administer the new grant program, giving preference to proposals seeking to focus on chronic health problems such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Grants could be used for both new and existing programs and initiatives.

House Bill 1007 now moves to the Senate for further consideration. To learn more and watch legislative proceedings online, visit

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