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'Paradigm shift' for public health easily clears Indiana Senate, heads to House

Lauren Chapman

Legislation headed to the House aims to overhaul the quality of care that local health departments provide to Hoosiers.

Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), the bill’s author, called SB 4 a “paradigm shift” for public health in Indiana, moving more towards preventing illness than just treating it.

Charbonneau also said his bill is about addressing the infrastructure of public health – which has long been underserved.

“We don’t build a road system and then neglect it," Charbonneau said. "We don’t build schools and not staff them. The same is true for public health.”

READ MORE: Senate committee passes bill to boost public health system, but challenges remain

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Under the bill, local health departments can apply to the state for significantly increased funding. But to get it, they must provide about two dozen core services, a list of which is included in the bill.

Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington) noted the funding isn’t in the measure – that will be decided in the state budget.

“We’re going to need to make sure that we do fund Senate Bill 4 so that counties that choose to participate in this can apply and do the work that is much needed throughout Indiana," Yoder said.

The bill passed the Senate 41-7.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Copyright 2023 IPB News. To see more, visit .

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.