The House of Representatives began the 119th General Assembly on Tuesday, Nov. 19 with Organization Day. This day marks the first official meeting of the legislature prior to the start of another legislative session. Each year on Organization Day, new members are sworn in, the first roll call is taken and Democrat and Republican caucuses from both the House and Senate have the opportunity to meet and organize their priorities for the next session.
This coming session is considered a long session and runs from early January to late April. . Enacting an honestly balanced budget is the most important task before the General Assembly in 2015. Passing a budget that does not increase taxes on Hoosiers or place unsustainable financial burdens on future generations serves as the foundation of the House Republican legislative agenda.
Over half of the biennial budget goes towards Indiana’s education system. Education funding will remain a top priority this session. Focusing dollars on the classroom and providing public school teachers with a tax credit for classroom supplies are key priorities that will have our focus. It is vital that we make educational opportunities possible for every Hoosier student.
Organization Day also carries another important purpose. House Speaker Brian Bosma selects a charitable organization that the House participates in and raises awareness for throughout the legislative session. This year’s charity is the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV).
The ICADV is a statewide coalition that provides technical assistance, resources, information and training to domestic violence awareness programs, support agencies and concerned individuals. They on prevention of domestic abuse, legislative advocacy, public awareness, advocate training and legal assistance.
Last year, over 1700 victims of domestic abuse were turned away from shelters that were already at capacity. I was honored to participate in this event and join Democrats and Republicans alike in giving back to our fellow Hoosiers and supporting an organization that strives to end domestic violence in Indiana. Together we collected pillows, bedding, towels, art supplies and other miscellaneous items to distribute to local domestic violence shelters throughout the state.
This time of year is known as a time of giving thanks and giving back. It is a time for reflection, selflessness and helping those in need.
I look forward to spending time with my family and giving thanks for all the blessing that we have. One of the many things I am thankful for is having the ability to be the voice of our community. I am humbled when I think about the responsibilities you have bestowed upon me, and I will work hard to keep that trust. I encourage you to take this time to give thanks and give back. I hope you have a blessed holiday being surrounded by family and friends.