Huston releases 2020 interim study committee topics, including impacts of COVID-19

Posted by: Erin Wittern  | Wednesday, May 13, 2020

STATEHOUSE (May 13, 2020) – House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) today released the 2020 interim study committee topics, which includes reviewing COVID-19's impacts on Indiana and recommending best practices moving forward.

Huston, chair of the Legislative Council, convened the group's annual meeting virtually for the first time to assign legislative study topics on Wednesday. He said the council passed a resolution, which requires each state agency to submit a report by Sept. 18 to the appropriate summer study committee outlining agency plans for handling similar public emergency situations in the future and recommendations for legislation.

“As Indiana continues to fight COVID-19, we want to work together with our state agencies so we can build upon what we learned from this pandemic," Huston said. "It's important that we hear from agencies on what legislative changes are needed to help better equip them moving forward, and whether we should permanently modify or repeal laws that were suspended during the outbreak.”

The Legislative Council also created a new, six-member Legislative Continuity Committee, which will focus on how the legislative branch can better prepare for future emergencies. Huston said the committee is charged with looking at alternate communication methods, safeguarding vital legislative records and the continuity of legislative functions during a crisis. The committee will also make recommendations for legislation to help ensure the General Assembly is prepared and equipped to better address emergencies in the future. The House minority leader and Senate minority leader will each appoint one member to serve on the Legislative Continuity Committee, and the chair and vice chair of Legislative Council will each appoint two members of which two committee co-chairs will be selected.   

Huston said while study committees typically meet in-person during the summer and fall months to prepare for the session ahead, lawmakers are considering new procedures to host meetings virtually due to the pandemic. He said details will be released in the coming weeks, and any new process will remain transparent and open to the public.

The Legislative Council is comprised of eight members of the Indiana Senate and eight members of the Indiana House of Representatives with the chamber leaders alternating as chair each year.

Click here for the resolution approved by the Legislative Council that outlines the full list of assigned study topics.