After the jubilation and cheers rang out through the House Chamber and the shouts of “Sine Die!” subdued, I took some time to reflect back on my first session as a state representative. This is not a job I take lightly as our community has instilled its faith in my decision-making and ability to accurately represent everyone’s views. I would like to sincerely thank House District 55 for allowing me the honor of being your voice at the Statehouse.
Sine Die: End of the Beginning
Two bills I was involved with, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 319 and House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1324, passed through both the House and Senate and were sent to the governor to be signed into law.
SEA 319, which deals with how farmland taxes are assessed, was fast-tracked through both the House and Senate and sent to the governor’s desk to become the first bill of the 2013 session to be signed into law. This legislation prevented an estimated tax increase of $57 million on farmland across the state, which, coupled with last year’s drought, would have been a double whammy on farmers’ pocketbooks. Hoosier agriculture is an essential part of many Indiana communities, and I was glad to be able to help prevent a tax increase that could have severely impacted many in our community.
HEA 1324 increases the maximum weight limitation for a vehicle that uses natural gas as a motor fuel by 2,000 lbs. The bill also imposes the motor carrier fuel tax on natural gas, equivalent to the existing rates imposed on gallons of gasoline. The bill levies an excise tax of $0.16 per diesel gallon equivalent on alternative fuels. It estimated that Indiana could bring in another $5 million or more in state revenue.
In addition to this legislation, much of my first session was dedicated to the Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs. As the vice-chairman, it was my duty to support the chairman, State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki (R- Syracuse) and step up as chair if needed. Helping children and families is truly where my passion lies, which is why I was incredibly pleased to be appointed to this position.
During committee meetings we heard, researched, debated and collaborated about many different bills regarding the well-being of Hoosier families and children. I am incredibly pleased with the work this committee completed and have no doubt that we made a positive impact on the lives of our most vulnerable Hoosiers.
Even though the 2013 session is over for the 118th Indiana General Assembly, legislators still have work to do. We are returning home to our districts and will be even more accessible to the people of our community. Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns or with ideas for legislation for next year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317-232-9850.
State Rep. Cindy Ziemke serves as Vice Chairman of the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction. Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.