As I looked back at the last Manning Memo I wrote at the conclusion of the 2020 legislative session as the COVID-19 pandemic was just taking hold, I don’t think any of us could have imagined all that has transpired in the past nine months. This was quite the year, and we are all still dealing with a lot of challenges. But I am proud of our community, and I am proud of Indiana. We are blessed to live in the Hoosier state.
We began the 2021 legislative session last week, although with a few changes. Just like so many community and family events have been altered in the last year, so too must the legislature adapt to the ongoing pandemic. For the foreseeable future, the Indiana House of Representatives will be conducting session just once a week instead of three times. Our committees will also meet on an as-needed basis, and the schedule will vary from week to week. This will require a lot of flexibility from legislators, staff and the public, but I believe the process will remain as transparent as it always has. The House is also meeting together – not in our Statehouse chamber – but in a larger space across the street in Indiana Government Center South.
I’m honored to continue my service as vice chair of the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee. I have also been appointed to the House Elections and Apportionment Committee and the House Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee.
Even though session looks different this year, the process for a bill to become a law remains the same. I have filed several bills this session and will talk about those in the coming weeks. The House Republican Caucus is focused on big issues such as crafting a new state budget; establishing COVID-19 liability protections for businesses, schools and local governments; fully funding schools; funding a small business grant program; improving the health of Hoosiers and more. I am personally focused on expanding access to broadband internet services, making sure our state has reliable and affordable electric service now and in the future, providing additional funding to our rural schools, supporting agriculture, and improving health care. There is much that can be done in each of these areas.
As session gets going, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any ideas or concerns. I welcome the opportunity to talk about pending legislation. Also, as a reminder, my staff and I can be helpful if you are having an issue with a state agency. We can make an inquiry and sometimes having us step in can resolve a problem more quickly. You can reach me to talk about session or any other issue at H23@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9619.
Stay tuned for more details on this and other important issues in next week’s Manning Memo. Remember, it's your state government, so participate in it!
State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) represents House District 23,
which includes portions of Cass, Fulton and Miami counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.