[r31] We're Moving On Up, and Fast (2/20/2012)

Monday, February 20, 2012 7:00 pm

Start Date:  2/20/2012    
End Date:  2/20/2012    

We are getting closer and closer to end of session, with no plans of slowing down. Saying this week has been eventful is certainly an understatement—an understatement in a good way. We haven’t had any walkouts; instead, we have had days full of committee hearings, session discussion and votes beings casted.

We even announced this week that we will be ending session a week early—something that has not been done in years. But by the looks of how this week ran, I have no worries.

Legislation that I specifically authored this session has really been moving along. House Bills (HB) 1005 and 1250 dealing with nepotism and conflict of interest at the state and local levels passed out of their assigned Senate committees this week. They should be scheduled for a floor debate sometime next week.

I also authored HB 1093 to address some of the issues concerning Indiana’s open door laws and public access in order to make the process more transparent and less complicated for all involved. I plan to present the bill to the Senate Committee on Local Government next week.

HB 1007, which I co-authored, would require Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to develop a pilot program to drug test individuals who are receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and are 18 years old. The bill was assigned to the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services.

Last, but certainly not least, is HB 1199 that will phase out the state’s inheritance tax over a span of 10 years. Indiana is one of few states that still has this tax in state statue and only imposes unnecessary problems. It was assigned to the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy, which I plan to present the bill to next week.

In total, the House filed 397 bills and the Senate filed 415 bills. Legislation that made it through the first chamber and onto the next included 108 House bills and 140 Senate bills. If a bill doesn’t make it through the first phase does not mean the issue is not of importance. It may be an issue that needs further discussion or it may be an issue that was put with another piece of legislation.

It has been a fast ride so far, and like I said, we have no intention of slowing down. But I hope you stay involved in the conversation. Keep contacting my office with any concerns or questions you may have. You can also log onto www.in.gov/legislative to get the most up-to-date information on all legislation.