[r55] COLUMN: Session is in full swing at the Statehouse

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, January 16, 2015

Session is in full swing at the Statehouse

The 2015 legislative session is officially underway, and the Statehouse is alive with energy. The first few weeks of session are always an exciting time for legislators. We are meeting with our constituents, serving on our assigned committees and reviewing legislation that comes across our desk. In fact, the entire year, all the conversations and discussions, is preparation for session, which allows me to make more informed decisions and ensure that your voice is being heard.

On Tuesday, Governor Pence gave his State of the State Address in which he detailed his legislative priorities, including a continued commitment to an honestly balanced budget and strengthening our state’s education system. In his proposed budget, the governor focused on increasing funding for K-12 education by $200 million over the next two years.

I applaud his commitment to provide Hoosier students with the highest-quality education system in the nation, which has always been a top priority of mine as well. We can accomplish this by continuing to focus dollars on where they are needed the most, the classroom. Along with prioritizing funding for our local schools, we must also support our hard-working Hoosier teachers.

This year, the governor awarded $30 million in teacher performance bonuses and committed an additional 10 percent of funding during the biennium. It is important that teachers, who go above-and-beyond, to prepare our children for future success are rewarded for their hard work and dedication.

In addition to prioritizing our biennial budget and education this session, I will work to address certain public safety concerns impacting our communities. One in particular is to reduce the infant mortality rate in Indiana which is something the governor outlined in his State of the State Address as well. I look forward to working in conjunction with his office, and with my fellow legislators, on this issues that protect the health and well-being of all Hoosiers, especially our most vulnerable.

The same day as the governor’s address, I also had the wonderful opportunity of having my great niece Mary Cate Meyer, and her two friends, Sally and Leo Dilts, serve as House pages. Our page program provides a unique experience for students, ages 13 to 18, to spend a full day at the Statehouse. The three were able to take a tour of the Statehouse, the governor’s office and the House and Senate chambers. I was so excited to spend the day with them and explain how the legislative process works.

This session, I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass legislation that keeps our community and state moving forward. As your state representative, I encourage you to continue contacting me with your thoughts and opinions so I can better serve you. You can reach me at my by calling 317-232-9815 or emailing h55@iga.in.gov.

 -30-

 Rep. Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.