Lawmakers recently met at the Statehouse for the Indiana General Assembly’s annual Organization Day. This ceremonial start to the legislative session provides an opportunity for lawmakers to come together, discuss important issues and focus on legislative priorities before the official start of session on Jan. 3.
This session, a top priority will be passing Indiana’s next biennial state budget, which provides the fiscal blueprint for state operations in 2019 and 2020. An honestly balanced and fiscally responsible budget funds key government functions, including K-12 education, higher education, Medicaid, health and human services, general government, corrections, public safety and capital projects.
Ensuring that the state continues living within its means is a benefit to all Hoosiers. Indiana has earned a AAA bond rating from all three credit agencies by continually maintaining a balanced state budget. Maintaining this rating helps the state receive lower borrowing rates and ensures that we don’t pass on debt to future generations. Unlike other states, Indiana is inheriting opportunities, not deficits. This has also led our state to have one of the top business climates in the country and an unemployment rate that is continually under the national average. Passing another fiscally responsible budget will keep Indiana a great place to live and do business.
This session, we will also focus on building the state’s workforce by promoting career exploration and work-based learning partnerships. We will continue efforts to strengthen our commitment to students and teachers by increasing school safety, streamlining educator requirements and increasing teacher pay. These remain important topics, and we are working to make progress and keep moving Indiana forward.
I am also currently working with our district school corporations, first responders and firefighters, and local government officials to draft potential new laws to help our community. The deadline to draft bills is Dec. 10. If you have any ideas, input or feedback for potential legislation, I encourage you to contact my office at 317-232-9802 or firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline.
I’m looking forward to a new session and I thank you for the opportunity to continue serving our area in the Indiana General Assembly. To stay informed on what is happening at the Statehouse, sign up to receive email legislative updates at www.in.gov/h74.
State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74, which
includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.