(STATEHOUSE) Feb. 26, 2008 - The Indiana Senate today passed House Bill 1162, which would allow young people to become more involved in their local and state governments. 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 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; the state superintendent of public instruction would supervise.
"The city of Kendallville currently has a youth advisory council in place, and it has proven to be a positive experience for everyone," said Rep. Bell. "It gets the kids on the council and their parents involved and interested in state and local government. It will also help teach a new generation of young people the importance of civic duty, and empower them with the ability to one day take over as the leaders of our country."
This bill is a natural extension of the 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 has passed the House and Senate, and now moves to the governor's desk for his signature. Upon his signature, the bill would become law July 1, 2008.
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.