The session opened on Tuesday, with speeches given on the House floor by leadership from both parties.
There was a commitment by both parties not to raise taxes this session. During these tough economic times, when families could least afford it, that is good news.
Several bills were scheduled for action on the House floor this week that had been prepared in committee work in December:
HB1001, the lobbying reform bill
HB1002 requires that at least 80% of the workers on certain public works projects must be Hoosiers
HB1004, which will adjust the method of assessing farm property and limit property tax bill increases to the consumer price index
House Joint Resolution (HJR) 1, which will put the property tax cap resolution on the ballot in November 2010 for approval by the voters of Indiana.
There were several days of nail-biting this week, after attempts by House Democrats to derail the caps with several amendments.
Fortunately, these were all voted down by a large margin. Amending the caps now would have jeopardized the chance for voters to make the final decision in November.
Finally, in a surprising display of bipartisan support, all four of those measures- three bills, and the property tax cap resolution- were approved on Thursday for a final vote as early as Monday.
HJR1 is a huge victory for the taxpayers of Indiana and a step in the right direction in property tax reform efforts.
Most of the committees were also able to hit the ground running this week and begin reviewing bills.
The final day for filing bills in the House will be Tuesday, January 12th.
I look forward to the upcoming session and the chance to impact legislation that will help make Indiana a better place to live and work.
Next week I'll update you on some of the bills I've filed.
Please take the time to fill out the legislative surveys that were sent out in December and send them back as soon as you can. Your input is important to know when considering legislation we are dealing with this session and possibly in the future.
Special thanks to those of you who have already sent back your surveys! I have already spent some time reading your comments, and they are extremely insightful and very helpful.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you are concerned about the issues we will be voting on or if I can help you with state level issues. My email address is email@example.com I can be reached in Indianapolis at 1-800-382-9841.
This has been State Representative Mark Messmer with this week's legislative update.