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Saint Mary’s students travel to Indianapolis to learn about bill

| Thursday, February 21, 2019

On Tuesday, girls from Saint Mary’s Communicative Sciences and Disorders department rose before the sun to begin their journey down to the Indianapolis Statehouse for Legislative Day, which gives students the opportunity to speak face to face with state legislators about bills and laws that will directly affect them and their profession.

Saint Mary’s sophomore Alexandria Leonardo said students, as future citizens of the world, have a responsibility to fix the problems society faces.

“It’s very important for students to advocate. We’re the next generation,” Leonardo said. “We are the world. Something that is an issue to us will be an issue to the next generation if we don’t fix it; if we aren’t the ones to fix this issue then it’s gonna keep going.”

The Saint Mary’s students discussed Senate Bill-189 amongst themselves during a session in the morning before heading over to the Indiana State House. The bill would issue emergency permits to people who have not had full training in the speech-language pathology and audiology fields.

The bill is a major point of concern for both professional politicians and Saint Mary’s students, Leonardo said.

“I’m very passionate about my major and what I’m studying to be and I believe that this issue with the emergency bill permits is a very problematic thing for our profession — and not only for the SLP’s and audiologists, but also the patients that we are serving and treating,” she said.

After the morning session, the group headed across the street to begin campaigning for the dismissal of SB-189 from the floor. At the luncheon served for the event students, teachers and legislators mingled and discussed the contentious bill.

Senior Emma Lewis said speaking with representatives was a valuable opportunity she particularly enjoyed.

“I got to talk to two representatives and really see their reaction to the stories that I’ve experienced with children who have been misdiagnosed,” Lewis said. “In a lot of ways, it’s easy to see how this bill can be construed as a good thing. But these senators need to hear from people with experience, from people with the education, to really understand how this bill works when it is put into effect.”

There are hopes that Tuesday will change the mindsets of Indiana legislators, Leonardo said.

“I really want there to be awareness for the legislators of how problematic and important this issue is to us,” she said.

Lewis said the Legislative Day trip was also important to students as one of their last chances to travel with Saint Mary’s.

“[I want] to make an impact on the world, and that’s kind of what Saint Mary’s has us do anyway,” she said. “I felt like as a senior, I really need to be here, because if there’s anything that I can do to make sure that I leave something good behind from Saint Mary’s showing up to the state house.”

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