[r63] Messmer Bill on Governor's Desk

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm sure you've had days where you reach bedtime and think, "I've been running around since I woke up, but what have I done today?"

Well, that's how this whole week has felt at the Statehouse. 

The two issues that have dominated discussions here for several days are still being fine-tuned.

Although we have had more than two months of hearings and discussions, sometimes it takes a deadline to prompt legislators to finally get down to business.

Next week at this time, hopefully I'll be able to give you all the details on what finally ended up in the unemployment insurance tax delay, and what finally ended up in a bill to give schools some funding flexibility during these financially difficult times.

Although we're at a stalemate with those, one of my bills passed both chambers this week.

As a freshman legislator in the minority, that doesn't happen too often, so I'm very pleased that Senate Bill 356 is now ready to be sent to the governor for his signature.

At its core, Senate Bill 356 is really about government efficiency.

The ideas contained in it were sparked last summer, when we returned to the Statehouse for "study committees" in preparation for this year's session.

It contains many more law changes now than it did originally, everything in the bill pertains in some way to professional licensing.

Granting licenses is one of the most important duties of the state.

Because standards for various professions are different from state to state, licenses to practice each profession-be they teaching licenses, beautician licenses or nursing licenses, for example-must be administered by the state (vs. being administered by the federal government).

The process of research and administration required to dispense these thousands of licenses each year can be expensive and cumbersome.

However, it is a vital process because it ensures that Hoosiers will be kept safe from people who are not actually qualified to sell the services they want to sell.

This bill will streamline some of these processes.

For example, this bill allows private agencies to do criminal history checks for employees of home health agencies.

Private agencies are perfectly qualified to do this kind of work, and it becomes one more function the state doesn't have to perform.

Another thing it does is to merge and change the membership on the cosmetology and barber boards.

It also eliminates the controlled substances advisory committee and transfers those responsibilities to the Indiana board of pharmacy.

Again, it's all about streamlining and consolidating government functions in order to save you, the taxpayer, a few dollars.

By making sure that two different state boards are not both doing the same work, we'll save money.

Representative Peggy Welch, a Democrat from Bloomington, was also a sponsor of Senate Bill 356, and it was a pleasure to collaborate with her on this project.

In fact, the whole bill was really a bipartisan effort. It passed out of committee unanimously, and passed both the House and Senate unanimously as well.

Now, the next step is for it to be signed by the governor.

As always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns at 1-800-382-9841 or h63@in.gov.

Your State Representative,

Mark Messmer