[r54] Session is more than just the budget (1/26/2011)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Start Date: 1/26/2011 All Day
End Date: 1/26/2011
Believe it or not, the state budget isn't the only item up for discussion this session. The House has already filed more than 600 bills-but possibly only half will ever see the governor's desk to be signed into law. We draft these bills to better Indiana, and although the majority of legislation is for Hoosiers statewide, we also aim to think locally.

The concerns a state legislator can hear at home in their own district are equally as important as the concerns of the entire state-sometimes these concerns are the same, but not always.

I introduced legislation this session that I think can help our district and hopefully, the state as well.

-House Bill 1022 is scheduled to be heard in the House Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform to prohibit a county, city or town employee from serving on the legislative or fiscal body that employs the employee. I think it's a conflict of interest if you are serving as a member of a board that debates issues, such as your salary and/or employment.

-House Bill 1134 addresses the staging and spreading of manure generated by out-of-state confined feeding operations. You might have already read about it in our local papers because it's been causing quite a stir of things.

Currently, manure that is generated outside of Indiana and then brought into our state does not have to abide by Indiana regulations in regards to how it is staged or spread.

I understand that manure is one of the greatest ways to fertilize our farmlands, but people living around those farms should not be forced to smell it, or worse deal with the environmental hazards it causes. This bill was assigned to the House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

-House Bill 1150 has already had a floor debate and will be ready for a vote this week to require legislators to renew their state-issued license plate on December 14 of each year, instead of by their last name. This helps with issues we have had in the past when legislators retire or resign.

-House Bill 1269 would require out-of-state recreational vehicle (RV) owners that have been parked in-state for at least six months to be charged with the same excise tax as Indiana residents are charged.

If they have been here for at least six months, I feel that it is only fair they pay the appropriate taxes for the resources they are using. RV excise taxes are distributed to the local civil taxing units and school corporations.

This bill was assigned to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

-House Bill 1275 was assigned to the House Committee on Local Government, which I serve on as a member. The bill would allow a county, city or town to transfer money from its economic development income tax fund (or rainy day fund) to its general fund so it can take advantage of existing resources.

If you are interested in watching committee hearings, you can visit the state website at www.in.gov/legislative.

Click "Watch Indiana General Assembly Live." You will then find a list of different committee rooms that are available for your viewing. You can also watch live House floor action by clicking, "Watch video from the House."

If you have any questions concerning the legislation listed above or any other legislation, please don't hesitate to contact my office. As session progresses, I look forward to discussing these issues and many others that will come across my desk.