Ron Bacon

In the News

Addressing the Nursing Shortage

Nurses play an important role in the healthcare industry. They perform vital tasks and services on behalf of patients and other medical professionals. With the aging Baby Boomer population, Indiana is experiencing a statewide shortage of nursing professionals. The opioid and illegal drug epidemic is also resulting in the need for more nurses. A proposal I sponsored this session would align Indiana with industry standards and modernize educational requirements for advanced practice registered nurses to ensure they can enter the field more swiftly while remaining properly equipped to care for Hoosiers.

In 2014, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 60 of Indiana’s 92 counties were facing a shortage of healthcare professionals. Being the vice chair of the House Committee on Public Health and having experience in the medical field as a respiratory therapist, I understand the need for a proper amount of nurses and how important they are to Hoosiers.

This proposal would make a graduate degree the minimum standard for all APRNs. It would also change references from an advanced practice nurse to advance practice registered nurse in Indiana code. Indiana is 1 of 4 states that still refer to APRNs as APNs. By modernizing code, it would lessen confusion with other governing bodies and be consistent with the other 46 states.

In the future, I plan to continue working on implementing a new policy that would require an APRN to have specific educational requirements to be able to prescribe drugs that have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration. This policy would also add two members that are APRNs with different areas of specialties to the Indiana State Board of Nursing, and allow APRNs to practice without collaborative agreements with a practitioner if they meet certain conditions.

Having a sufficient number of nurses is incredibly important, and with the opioid crisis and the aging Baby Boomer population, getting more of them into the field is something we are working to accomplish. By updating code and modernizing requirements to get more APRNs in the field, we will continue fighting the opioid epidemic and taking care of Hoosiers.

Improving Customer Service with INDOT4U

Indiana’s extreme temperature changes are causing some rough road conditions and potholes. With warmer weather, there will be more frequent work zones and road construction addressing these issues. The Indiana Department of Transportation is aiming to make dealing with road construction easier for motorists during this time with the launch of its new customer service center, INDOT4U.

INDOT4U simplifies the process for customers to interact with INDOT and report concerns, obtain information and provide feedback by using a single point of contact. Drivers can also make requests for assistance through the service. Motorists can contact the statewide customer service center by calling a toll-free phone number at 855-INDOT4U (463-6848). Customers can also use the self-service web portal at, email [email protected] or use the INDOT mobile app, which can be downloaded on the App Store and Google Play.

With drivers reporting roadway concerns to a centralized customer service center, the turnaround time for services, repairs and debris cleanup will be reduced. Customers calling with questions about roads, bridges, services and traffic conditions will receive timely, accurate and consistent information. INDOT believes this new approach will bring greater accountability to the agency and help Hoosiers receive better service.

Any motorist who utilizes the customer service center will have the option to complete a short survey to provide feedback on the program and their experience. This information will be used to implement future changes and continue making consumer-driven improvements.

The General Assembly is committed to improving transportation infrastructure statewide, and this new streamlined service from INDOT helps build on that progress.

Targeting the Opioid Epidemic From All Angles

The opioid epidemic involving the illegal use of prescription painkillers and heroin is affecting our families and communities throughout Indiana. In 2016, more than 1,500 Hoosiers died from a drug overdose. We must attack this epidemic on all fronts to help save lives and protect Hoosiers.

One way House Republicans are addressing this issue is by focusing on the recovery process for individuals suffering from addiction. House Bill 1007 would expand the number of opioid treatment centers in Indiana from 18 to 27 in key locations. Expanding the number of treatment centers makes them more accessible to Hoosiers struggling with addiction and gives individuals more resources for a successful recovery.

Under this proposal, nine certified mental health centers or general acute care hospitals could apply to operate new opioid treatment programs. This bill would also provide provisional credentialing to Hoosier mental health professionals who are qualified to expedite the hiring process for addiction treatment providers.

House Republicans are also addressing the problem at the source. Currently, there is no added penalty for drug dealing resulting in death. House Bill 1359 would hold dealers responsible for not only manufacturing controlled substances, but also increase the penalty when the use of the drug results in death. This bill will keep offenders who are dealing controlled substances and killing Hoosiers off the streets for longer periods of time, making this penalty crucial to combating the epidemic.

Continuing to take steps to fight illegal and deadly drug use will make Indiana a healthier, safer state for all Hoosiers. I thank you for your continued support as we work to provide more treatment options for Hoosiers struggling with addiction and keep deadly drugs off the street.

House Supports Bacon’s Efforts to Reduce Government Interference

The Indiana House of Representatives yesterday voted unanimously in favor of State Rep. Ron Bacon’s (R-Chandler) proposal to reduce government interference in local matters.

Bacon said House Bill 1023 would make changes to annexation remonstrance waivers and provide municipalities more opportunity to negotiate terms with other property owners.

“Under this legislation, if a municipality wants to expand services to a property outside its boundaries, the property owner will have the opportunity to negotiate and agree upon terms instead of facing possible annexation,” Bacon said. “Changing one word in current statue will lessen government involvement and help local communities decide what works best for them.”

House Bill 1023 now moves to the Senate for consideration. To learn more about this legislation, visit

Prioritizing Government Efficiency

U.S. News and World Report ranks Indiana as the No. 1 state for government administration. To build on this momentum, Indiana House Republicans this legislative session are focused on supporting policies to further increase government efficiency.

While many state government reporting requirements are meaningful and worthwhile, a number of them need to be reviewed and reevaluated. Repealing or updating clumsy and duplicative reports required of state and local governments would help streamline administrative processes and improve service for the public. Even with the reduction in paperwork, the agencies would still maintain accountability and be transparent.

House Bill 1003 would repeal six chapters and 88 sections of outdated, unused or duplicative code, and 73 reporting requirements. Under the proposal, 26 state agencies would see a reduced workload or a lesser number of contrasting reports due to these repeals. This would allow them to operate more efficiently and better address the needs of Hoosiers.

The proposal was crafted based on the results of a statewide survey to identify agency reports needing reform, repeal or consolidation. Since the Select Committee on Government Reduction was established in 2011, legislation has repealed almost 2,000 lines of Indiana Code and eliminated more than 70 government boards and commissions.

Reducing regulatory burdens and working toward efficient government is beneficial for all Hoosiers and is a priority for Indiana House Republican legislators.

House Supports Bacon’s Bill to Provide Flu Information to Older Hoosiers

The Indiana House of Representatives yesterday passed State Rep. Ron Bacon’s (R-Chandler) legislation to make information about influenza and vaccines more readily available to assisted living residents.

House Bill 1058 would require assisted living operators to provide residents specific information pertaining to influenza and influenza vaccinations. Bacon said this proposal would better ensure that residents are aware of important information regarding their health during the flu season.

“Making this information readily available to residents could have a major impact on their health,” Bacon said. “With 90 percent of influenza-related deaths and 60 percent of influenza hospitalizations occurring in individuals over the age of 65, this proposal gives residents an opportunity to prevent the flu and stop it from spreading in their facilities.”

Bacon said the Indiana State Department of Health reported an increase in flu cases compared to this time last year, and increasing voluntary vaccinations in groups at the highest risk is critical in protecting Indiana’s public health.

House Bill 1058 now moves to the Senate for consideration. To learn more about this legislation, visit

Let’s Maintain Rural Townships

The 2018 legislative session is moving fast, and a great deal of ideas for new laws are being proposed and debated each day. One proposal being considered would consolidate townships with a population less than 1,200. While I believe it is important for our state and local governments to work efficiently, consolidating townships is not the answer.

Recently, I met with many of the township trustees from Warrick County, and they asked thoughtful questions and brought up concerns they have with the proposal. What if, after consolidation, a newly formed township’s population drops below 1,200?

What changes will have to be made to fire protection efforts as a result of the boundary changes? Trustees are also concerned about a lack of equal representation if townships merge. How will individuals from smaller and more rural areas be sure their voices are heard in township government?

It seems to me this legislation brings up more questions than answers, and from what I have heard and observed, I don’t think it is the right action to be taken for our area. We have hardworking trustees in our communities who are familiar with and focused on addressing our needs.

I will closely follow this bill through the legislative process to see if there are any changes that address these unanswered questions.

While there are concerns with the efficiency of local townships, and I do believe there are issues that need to be addressed, this proposal would punish the bad actors at the expense of the good ones. There has to be a better way to clean up these issues without punishing the successful townships and trustees throughout our state.

Serving Southern Indiana Residents

The Indiana General Assembly has kicked off the 2018 legislative session, and the House of Representatives is ready to focus on policies that invest in the future of Indiana. In addition to improving Indiana’s workforce, attacking the opioid epidemic, and addressing important education issues, I am working on a few bill proposals to benefit our district.

This session, I authored legislation that could reduce government interference in local matters. House Bill 1023 would make changes to annexation remonstrance waivers and provide municipalities more opportunities to negotiate terms with other property owners between townships. This means that if a municipality wants to expand services to a property outside its boundaries, the property owner will have the opportunity to negotiate and agree upon terms instead of being forced into annexation.

By changing one word in the current statute, this legislation would give locals more control to decide what works best for both parties.

This session, I am also authoring House Bill 1058, which will provide information on influenza and influenza vaccinations to residents of assisted living facilities. If passed into law, the bill would require assisted living operators to provide residents specific information pertaining to influenza and influenza vaccinations.

For residents in assisted living, influenza can be a matter of life or death. More than 90 percent of deaths caused by influenza occur in individuals over the age of 65. This bill would better ensure that residents are aware of important information regarding their health during flu season.