[r63] Messmer Report: Legislators enjoy the ‘bratzel’

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, February 24, 2012

The General Assembly spends several months each year working out solutions to many issues, but it’s also important to take the time to recognize the achievements of Hoosiers who make Indiana great.  The highlight of my week was welcoming Jasper’s own Schnitzelbank Restaurant to the Statehouse.  The Schnitzelbank’s ‘bratzel’ sandwich beat out 46 other sandwiches in a statewide contest during the Super Bowl festivities.  Legislators from across Indiana sampled the bratwurst-pretzel creation and reconfirmed that we’re lucky to have the state’s number one sandwich so close to home.  I am proud to recognize the Schnitzelbank Restaurant’s commitment to quality and their contributions to this state.

In anticipation of adjourning three days early, the House has been working hard and moving legislation at an accelerated rate.  Three of my bills have seen progress this week.

A bill that I worked on over the summer and that I’m  now sponsoring to streamline charity gaming and simplify the licensing process passed the House.  Senate Bill (SB) 315 would allow national charity organizations and foundations to hold gaming licenses for their Indiana affiliates.  Local chapters of groups like the NRA foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and the Wild Turkey Federation often find it difficult to navigate through Indiana’s complex gaming laws when holding charity gaming events. 

This legislation would allow the national organization to fill out the gaming licenses and reports for all of its local chapters to ensure they comply with regulations.  This would benefit not only conservation groups, but all charitable organizations.  More money would go to their individual causes, and less would be diverted away to fees for gaming violations. We amended the bill in the House to combine it with another charity gaming bill that passed the House earlier in the session, so the revised bill will now go back to the Senate for a final vote.

Two bills I authored were signed into law this week by Gov. Daniels.  House Bill (HB) 1148 updates testing procedures for engineers and land surveyors.  The national organization that administers these exams will soon switch to computer-based testing, but Indiana still requires handwritten exams.  This legislation simply brings Indiana up to national standards for computer-based engineer and surveyor exams.

HB 1154 will eliminate the mandated local Indiana business preference for public works projects.  Taxpayer dollars should be spent wisely and the lowest qualified bidder for a project should win the contract.  The bill still allows county and local governments the option to apply a local price preference for the purchase of supplies.  Both bills will go into effect on July 1, 2012.

The House still has a lot of work to do, but we’re on track to finish our business in two weeks.  Thank you for your support, and I encourage you to stop by the Schnitzelbank Restaurant to try the best sandwich in Indiana.