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Child lead screening, dam regulation bills pass respective chambers

A home is half underwater from a flood in Johnson County. Prince's Lake dam breached during it, making the problem worse.
Wikimedia Commons
A home is half underwater from a flood in Johnson County. Prince's Lake dam breached during it, making the problem worse.

Bills to reduce the number of dams under the state's jurisdiction and offer lead screening to all Indiana children were passed by their respective chambers Tuesday.

Lawmakers behind SB 269 said people who own the dams have had to pay to maintain them to the state’s standards. That can sometimes lead to years-long lawsuits against the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, costing taxpayers money.

READ MORE: Bills on floodplains, dams limit the Indiana DNR's ability to protect Hoosiers from flooding

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But some engineers and environmentalists have said now isn’t the time to decrease state oversight of dams. Many dams in Indiana are old and in danger of failing.

A recent amendment to the bill now makes it so those who own high hazard dams would have to make emergency action plans.

It passed the House Tuesday. It's unclear if the it will go to conference committee before heading to Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk.

The state Senate passed a bill, HB 1313, on Tuesday that aims to offer lead testing for all Indiana children under 6 through their doctor. Kids with lead poisoning can have trouble learning, behavioral issues, and poor kidney function.

READ MORE: Every kid younger than 6 would be screened for lead in Indiana under state House bill

Right now, Indiana only requires kids covered by Medicaid to be screened for lead — and according to state health officials less than half of those kids are actually getting screened. The three-year screening program will help the state to better identify who is most affected by lead and where.

State health officials say lead screening should be covered by most private insurance providers as well as Medicaid.

The bill now heads to Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk.

Contact reporter Rebecca at or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

Rebecca Thiele