• On Tuesday, Sen. Todd Young joined Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.), all members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, to introduce the Jobs Plus Recovery Act to incorporate job training into drug addiction recovery programs. The bipartisan legislation would establish a pilot program that gives individuals impacted by opioid addiction or substance use disorders access to job training and support services to aid in their recovery and lower their likelihood of relapse.

Young: “During one of my recent Fair Shot Agenda roundtables, I heard from an Indiana plastics manufacturing firm that took a chance by hiring a Hoosier who had struggled with addiction issues. This week, that same Hoosier is graduating from drug treatment court and serves as a valuable employee. With the Jobs Plus Recovery Act, we can replicate this success story across Indiana and the entire country. This legislation would create pilot programs that help individuals struggling with opioid addition access employment opportunities. Our goal is to give businesses the tools needed to positively impact addiction treatment outcomes, and to change how the nation treats individuals with addiction issues so that they can turn their lives around and meaningfully contribute to the economy.”

• Senator Joe Donnelly welcomed the recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement that the agency will give funding priority in two key grant programs to help combat the opioid epidemic in rural communities. USDA will be giving priority funding to Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program applications that will provide opioid prevention, treatment or recovery services. The agency is also reserving $5 million in the Community Facilities Grant Program for grants for facilities that will help provide a local response to the challenges of opioid addiction.

This strategy is based on Donnelly’s bipartisan and bicameral rural opioids legislative package introduced last year. The bipartisan government funding bill signed into law last month included dedicated funding for addressing opioids in rural communities, based on Donnelly’s bipartisan rural opioid package. Funding for these programs is now available.

• Last month, Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-08) introduced the Electricity Reliability and Fuel Security Act to provide a temporary tax credit for coal-fired power plants. In a hearing Thursday of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Bucshon gave an update, including that the measure has received support from the President and the U.S. Energy Department. Watch here.

• President Trump made some judicial nominations this week that affect the state of Indiana. If confirmed, J.P. Hanlon will serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Currently, Hanlon serves in the Indianapolis office of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, where he is co-chair of the firm’s white-collar defense and investigation practice. Previously, he was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. In addition, if confirmed, Holly A. Brady will serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Brady is a partner in the Fort Wayne law firm of Halper & Colvin, PC, where she focuses her practice on civil, employment and labor litigation.

• Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was just announced to be the commencement speaker at Trine University in May 2018.

• Longtime Mike Pence staffer and former gubernatorial deputy chief of staff, Matt Lloyd, is changing jobs. Lloyd will be moving to the U.S. State Department to help with the confirmation of Mike Pompeo, who was tapped to run the department. Lloyd most previously served as principal deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.