Today, the Senate committee on Local Government and Elections unanimously passed House Bill 1162 that would allow young people to become more involved in their local and state government. State Rep. Matt Bell (R-Avilla) is the author of the bill.
House Bill 1162 would allow the presiding officer of a city or town council to appoint someone younger than 18 years old to serve as a non-voting advisor to the municipal legislative body.
It would also create an advisory council to the General Assembly concerning issues of importance to youth. The Department of Education would staff the 22-member youth council, and the state superintendent of public instruction would supervise.
"Many of the decisions made by city and town councils affect the young people in the community," said Rep. Bell. "By allowing youth to participate in the legislative process, we can ensure their interests are protected and that they receive fair treatment.
"Communities where youth advisors serve have experienced positive benefits. I would like to expand this opportunity to every community in Indiana so they too can reap the benefits."
This bill is a natural extension of Mayor's Youth Advisory Councils, which is currently active in more than 40 communities across the state, including Kendallville and New Haven. Members of Kendallville Mayor Suzanne Handshoe's youth advisory council provided important advocacy and feedback on this issue.
The bill now heads to the full Senate.
Rep. Bell encourages constituents to contact him through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling the Statehouse toll-free at 1-800-382-9841 or by writing him at the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204.