Behning: Prioritizing Hoosier needs

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Friday, January 12, 2018 4:34 pm

The 2018 legislative session is in full swing, and I am working on behalf of you and your family to move Indiana forward. Falling on an even-numbered year, this 10-week legislative term is considered a “short session” because we won’t be considering a biennial budget. We must complete all business by March 14. This year, House Republicans are focused on addressing K-12 funding, strengthening Indiana’s workforce, attacking the opioid epidemic and increasing government efficiency.

Setting young Hoosiers up for success is key to our state’s future. Each year, Indiana spends $7 billion on K-12 education. While crafting our budget, we base school funding on calculated estimates of student populations. To account for a higher than expected increase in enrollment at our traditional public schools, we will boost funding for K-12 schools. This will ensure that Hoosier students, educators and schools will have the per-pupil funding they were expecting after the passage of last year’s two-year state budget.

Our state’s unemployment rate is currently 3.7 percent, but before 2022, we will need to fill 1 million jobs. Indiana currently spends $1 billion on workforce programs, but employers are still struggling to find qualified workers to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs. This session, House Republicans will re-evaluate workforce-related programs and work to connect Career and Technical Education students with local employers.

Almost every Hoosier family or community has had to witness the devastating effects of drug addiction. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, from 2015 to 2016, there was a 52-percent increase in opioid overdose deaths, and nearly 100 Hoosiers die each month from a drug overdose. As part of Indiana’s continued fight against the opioid epidemic, I will support efforts to expand substance abuse and treatment options, and provide licensure flexibility for mental health professionals.

In 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked Indiana No. 1 for state government administration. We will build on this momentum by considering efforts to further reduce government bureaucracy, streamline local and state government reporting requirements and consolidate townships that have a population of less than 1,200. These reforms will improve government efficiency while maintaining accountability and public transparency.

As I continue to work on behalf of you and your family at the Statehouse, I encourage you to visit iga.in.gov where you can research bills and watch committee hearings and session. You can also visit www.in.gov/h91 to fill out my legislative survey and sign-up to receive my weekly e-newsletter. If there is anything I can do for you, contact my office at 317-232-9643 or h91@iga.in.gov

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State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.

Behning serves as the chair of the House Committee on Education. 

A high-resolution photo of Behning can be downloaded by clicking here.