|Start Date: ||5/8/2013|| Start Time: ||8:00 AM|
|End Date: ||5/8/2013|| End Time: ||8:00 AM|
STATEHOUSE – The 2013 legislative session has finished. State Representative Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) is pleased to see three of his bills become law this session: House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1002, HEA 1579 and Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 319.
“I cannot believe how quickly my first session as a legislator has come to an end,” said Rep. Smaltz. “I am very pleased with the amount we were able to accomplish in the last four months. We said at the start of session that our focus was on jobs, education and fiscal integrity, and I believe we kept those three things at the forefront and took a lot of positive steps for Hoosiers. I was especially honored to be a part of the work done on HEA 1002 as this bill will help equip Hoosiers with the education they need to meet the demands of Indiana’s growing workforce. It was great to see both parties come together on this legislation.”
HEA 1002 creates a 16-member board that brings key players, including the governor, together to align Indiana’s job skills and career training system and addresses the current and future needs of the state’s job market. A recent study by the Manufacturing Institute found that 67 percent of manufacturing companies reported a moderate to severe shortage of qualified workers. This bill aims to address the so-called “skills gap.” HEA 1002 was signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence.
HEA 1579 addresses the issue of drunk driving. It clarifies the wording of Indiana’s current open container law to prevent drivers of paid transportation vehicles, i.e. taxis, limos, etc., from drinking in the passenger compartment of a vehicle. This puts Indiana in line with federal mandates, allowing the state to receive $22.5 million per year in funding for its roads and bridges for the next 10 years, a total of $225 million.
SEA 319 provides farmers with needed property tax relief. The Department of Local Government Finance produced a list of changes last year that equals an immediate 20 percent increase in property taxes on farmland. Taxes on farmland the last few years have increased dramatically as the newly enacted controls have held other classes of property static or reduced. By fast-tracking the bill, local assessors were able to implement the new statute before spring documents were mailed out to property owners. The law also establishes an interim study committee to discuss agriculture property tax issues. SEA 319 was the first bill signed into law by Gov. Pence in February.
“I enjoyed this first session,” said Rep. Smaltz. “My personal goals were to learn how the legislative system works and what I can do to be a productive legislator and leader of our community. I plan to be back at it this summer with interim study committees, where we will take time to closely examine issues we weren’t able to perfect the way we wanted to this session. It was truly an honor to represent District 52 in the 2013 legislative session, and I look forward to coming home to Northeast Indiana and having some quality time with family, friends and neighbors.”