The 2015 session is now in full swing. As I mentioned in my last column, education will be a top priority this year. Many bills have been assigned to the Education Committee, of which I am the Chairman, and we will continue our work to improve the quality of Indiana’s education system this session.
As legislation begins moving through the process, Speaker Bosma recently announced ten bills that will help us accomplish the agenda priorities we outlined in October. One agenda bill related to education is House Bill 1009, which I authored. We recognize that in order to provide the highest quality of learning for Hoosier students, we must allow teachers and administrators the freedom to create the optimal learning environment. We will do this by focusing more resources on the classroom and freeing teachers from burdensome regulations. This will allow them the flexibility, innovation and efficiency they need to educate the next generation of Hoosier leaders.
Another agenda bill focused on education is House Bill 1005. This bill proposes a teacher tax credit of up to $200 for each teacher to use toward purchasing classroom supplies. This bill will help teachers provide the resources necessary to ensure success in the classroom; all without using their hard-earned dollars to do so.
While education is a top priority this year, I also had the opportunity to co-author a resolution honoring Purple Heart recipients in Indiana. I was delighted to recognize the many Hoosiers who have selflessly served our state and country. The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration currently in use in the U.S. and is awarded to any member of the U.S. Armed Services who is either wounded or killed in combat. I am grateful to these veterans who willingly faced danger to protect the freedoms we enjoy, and it was an honor to recognize their sacrifice and selfless service to our country.
I encourage you to get involved this session and take an active role in the legislative process. One way for you to keep up with the General Assembly is to visit the updated House Republican website. Recently launched, www.indianahouserepublicans.com allows you to track legislation, watch session online and access constituent resources. The goal of this website is to help you become more involved in the legislative process and keep you informed of current events in the Legislature.
A good opportunity for young people to become involved in Indiana’s government is the House Page Program. Any student ages 13 to 18 is eligible to participate, and the program offers students the chance to visit the Statehouse and see a full day of legislative activity. It also gives them a chance to interact with me as well as other elected leaders. More information is available on the Indiana House Republican website under the student opportunities tab.
I appreciate hearing your feedback on the issues I have discussed and other important matters affecting our state. Feel free to contact me by phone at 317-232-9643 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents portions of Marion and Hendricks counties. He also serves as Chairman of the Education Committee.