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DIGGING DEEPER: Family joins Holcomb to commemorate passage of workplace safety reform

INDIANAPOLIS (WPTA21) – The parents of a young woman who died at a Fort Wayne plastics plant in early 2018 stood beside the governor on Monday, celebrating the enactment this spring of workplace safety reforms prompted by her death.

At the Statehouse, Gov. Eric Holcomb conducted a ceremonial re-signing of HB 1341 — an act that he had already signed into law immediately following the 2019 legislative session.

The measure was one of two bills that addressed concerns raised in a Digging Deeper series of reports on workplace safety violations.

State Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) drafted HB 1341 and attended Monday’s ceremony in Indianapolis.

Samantha Hogue-Figgs embraces State Rep. Martin Carbaugh as she is presented with a resolution honoring her late daughter.

He then surprised Shacarra Hoque’s mother, Samantha Hogue-Figgs, with a framed copy of House Concurrent Resolution No. 65, which extended the “deepest sympathy” of the House of Representatives to Shacarra Hogue’s family.

It specifically notes that her death “motivated the filing of House Bill 1341,” fulfilling Hogue-Figgs’ wish to have her daughter’s name associated with the Statehouse reforms.

Hogue-Figgs learned of the resolution at the ceremonial bill signing.

“These are not tears of sorrow. They are pain. But I had to turn my pain into purpose,” Hogue-Figgs said.

She held in her hands a photograph of the daughter lost inside a press that had been altered by her employer.

“She was like, in the Bible, the lamb that was sacrificed to save others so that no one else will have to go through the pain like I do daily. And I thank every last one of you.

“From the depths of my heart, I thank you.”

HB 1341 greatly increased the penalty that may be imposed on a company found to have disregarded worker safety, leading to a death. State Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne), who shepherded the bill through the upper chamber, also attended Monday’s signing.

A second measure enacted this spring increased compensation to the immediate family of a worker killed on the job in Indiana.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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