[r24] Freshman legislator recaps first legislative session (4/29/2013)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Start Date: 4/29/2013 Start Time: 12:00 AM
STATEHOUSE — The 2013 legislative session has concluded, and with it brings a close to freshman legislator State Representative Steve Braun’s (R-Zionsville) first session representing District 24. He authored and sponsored legislation directly affecting Hoosiers all over Indiana.

“My first legislative session was a very positive learning experience,” said Rep. Braun. “I came into office focusing on education and keeping Indiana’s finances in order through pro-business, taxpayer-friendly policies. While these priorities are always evolving, I believe we have continued to put Indiana’s best foot forward in addressing pertinent issues facing our state’s job market and education system.”

A major piece of legislation this session was House Bill (HB) 1002, the creation of the Indiana Career Council (ICC). Authored by House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City), Rep. Braun served as a co-author, along with fellow freshman state representative Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn). The ICC will improve coordination, communication and vision for Indiana’s workforce training and career preparation systems by bringing the key players in each industry and government agency to the same table.

“Our goal is to make success possible for everyone, and it starts with having a great education,” said Rep. Braun. “We continue to work towards aligning our education system and workforce development programs with available jobs so that Hoosiers can be prepared with the skills and know-how to succeed in today’s marketplace. More than 930,000 Hoosiers – nearly one-third of Indiana’s workforce – lack even the most basic skills to thrive in today’s economy, and this council will address this issue.” 

HB 1002 was amended in February to incorporate military and veterans organizations due to the high unemployment rate among returning servicemen and women. The Senate also included an amendment requiring input from the logistics industry and women and minority groups. There wasn’t a single vote in opposition to this bill in either chamber of the General Assembly.

Rep. Braun also authored House Bill (HB) 1307, which addresses municipally owned utilities and provides a method to appeal the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) over water rates that are 50 percent higher than the rate being paid inside a territory. The legislation was inspired by an issue brought to Rep. Braun from the portion of his district in Zionsville. 

Previous legislation has let customers petition the IURC for review when their rates are increased, but some communities have not had the opportunity to appeal their higher rates under current law.

“This bill will provide for situations where there are extraterritorial rates set that are not voted on by the extraterritorial community,” said Rep. Braun.  “This allows for a review before a rate is changed. It seemed like a situation of taxation without representation to me, and I wanted to help.”

During session, Rep. Braun served on the prestigious Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development. He will continue to work in his district serving portions of Boone and Hamilton counties. 

“I am humbled to serve our community. Our district is full of potential, and I am excited to see the growth of our communities moving forward. I have and will continue to look for ways to make Indiana the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Rep. Braun.