Making your voice heard during the interim

Posted by: Courtney Bearsch  | Monday, September 14, 2015

The Indiana General Assembly is a part-time Legislature, meaning that many of those who serve also have other occupations. From teachers to retired firefighters, the Legislature is made up of Hoosiers of all areas of expertise and all walks of life. Those varying backgrounds are important to ensure that we have a broad range of perspectives and firsthand experience when discussing different legislative proposals.

Each year, I work diligently to ensure that members of our community are adequately informed on the issues being debated at the Statehouse. However, did you know that a large number of the bills that are introduced each legislative session actually come from constituents?

In fact, my signature piece of legislation during the 2015 session was inspired by a local family who founded a Down syndrome support group in Evansville. After finding out during pregnancy that their daughter had Down syndrome, the family went searching for information. Unfortunately, what they discovered was that information was not readily available and what they did find was largely outdated.

As a result, they used their own experiences to help other parents in the area, both through a support group and by contacting me. By working together, we were able to develop a legislative solution to a problem impacting Hoosiers statewide, ensuring that parents everywhere have access to the important information they need.

The influence of every day Hoosiers did not stop there. Being a budget year –in a state where over 50 percent of the budget is dedicated to education– we spent a great deal of time this session focused on education matters. One bi-partisan bill, which I was particularly proud of, came about after over a year and a half of work by a group of diverse school districts across the state. They identified and provided direct input on the areas of education law which were unnecessary and restrict local leadership and control. Some examples include removing overly strict requirements on school improvement plans and performance based awards.

As you can see, input from Hoosiers like you is absolutely critical to the legislative process. Not only does it keep legislators accountable, but it also has the potential to become the next great policy initiative in our state.

In addition to the pre-session survey, which I send out each year, I will also be travelling the district this fall, holding seven town hall meetings to discuss issues which members of the community would like to see addressed. My first stop will be at the Spencer County Public Library on Monday, Oct. 5, followed by the Rockport Town Hall on Thursday, Oct. 8 and Victoria National Golf Club on Saturday, Oct. 10.

In a district that spans portions of three counties, it was my intent that everyone has at least one town hall meeting conveniently located near their home. I invite all interested and concerned citizen to attend a meeting closest to you and look forward to seeing you there!

To view future town hall dates and times, please visit in.gov/h75. A postcard with additional information should also be in mailboxes soon! Together, we have made a difference before, and together, we will continue to do so.

Authored by State Representative Ron Bacon (R-Chandler)

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