[r63] Messmer Report: How To: Visit the Statehouse

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, December 17, 2010

STATEHOUSE -- The 2011 legislative session will be beginning January 5 and when talking to people I get a lot of interest in visiting the Statehouse. Whether you are looking for an educational experience or just something fun to do in Indianapolis, coming to the Statehouse is an opportunity to take advantage of. Our state capitol is a spectacular building with a lot of history to discover. I encourage you take a trip to Indianapolis to see the General Assembly in action and to explore the building.

A few interesting facts about the building: It was built in 1888 and the architecture was inspired by the Parthenon in Greece. It is one of the only state capitol buildings to still house all three branches of government in one building: the executive, legislative and judiciary offices.

There are three easy ways to visit the Statehouse. My first suggestion to visit the Statehouse is to take a scheduled tour. The Statehouse Tour Office offers many options to help plan your visit, and is a free experience open to the public. Whether you want a quick historical orientation of the building or the opportunity to see the governor's office, taking part in a tour is a great way to learn more about the Statehouse and what goes on inside.

I recommend coming on a day when the House or Senate is in session, which is Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. The gallery, on the fourth floor, is open to the public and watching the proceedings can help you to better understand the law-making process. If you are interested in taking a tour or want more information, you can call 317-232-5293 or e-mail captours@idoa.in.gov.

The second option is for students, ages 13-18. They are offered the opportunity to page for the House of Representatives. As a page, students view and participate in day-to-day activities of the General Assembly. They work closely with their representative, run errands, and attend committee hearings and floor sessions. They also have the chance to take a tour of the governor's office and the Indiana Supreme Court.

Hundreds of students each year take advantage of this unique educational experience and have fun doing it. The House Student Services Office can set up a date that works for you and answer any questions you might have. You can visit the Indiana House Republicans website and click on Student Opportunities. You can also e-mail h63@in.gov or call 317-232-9671 to apply. 
Spots fill up quickly, so apply soon if you're interested.

Finally, you can watch a live feed of House proceedings online. Technology has become a useful tool at the Statehouse. Every floor session is recorded and set up on a live feed on the House of Representatives website. You are able to watch the law-making process as it happens. I highly encourage you to explore the General Assembly website and watch a live session. The website offers information about the House and Senate, filed bills and calendars, and is very user-friendly. You can go to www.in.gov/legislative to watch the live feed online.

I hope you are able to visit our state capitol and, like me, appreciate the important events happening here daily to better the lives of all Hoosiers. We have a great opportunity in the session ahead to improve our state in many ways. If you can make a trip to see session in action I will do my best to take some time to visit with you and your group.