With only one week left in the 2011 legislative session we are working diligently to accomplish our work before the April 29 deadline. Conference committee work is on next week's calendar. A conference committee is formed when changes are made to a bill that left the House or the Senate that are not agreeable to the original author. A conference committee includes members from both parties in the House and the Senate. This will be the process we use for House Bill 1007 since I, as the original author of the bill, do not approve of the Senate changes.
Conference committee members meet to discuss changes in the bill. Once those amendments have been agreed upon by all the members of the committee it will head back to the House and the Senate for one final vote. If it passed both houses it will then be sent to the governor's desk to be signed into law.
A second bill I authored, HB 1297, I have agreed upon the amendments made in the Senate where it was passed unanimously. HB 1297 will change how, or if, financial institutions are able to hold public deposits of the state. This bill has also received support from the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions and the Indiana Bankers Association. It will now head to the governor's desk to be signed into law.
Another bill that I co-authored that will protect the sanctity of life and require women to receive additional information when they are seeking an abortion is making progress, as well. HB 1210 has passed the Senate on its final reading with amendments and it is now being sent back to the House. One of the amendments made in the Senate would end Medicaid coverage of Planned Parenthood in Indiana. The bill also sets 20 weeks as the maximum amount of time allowed for a woman to seek an abortion. The current cutoff is when a doctor determines viability which is usually around 24 weeks. I will be sure to provide a final update of the bill and details after the April 29 deadline.
We are working quickly to make up for the five weeks we lost in the middle session due to the Democrat walk-out, but we are optimistic that we will not have to return this summer for a special session. Our goals are within reach to promote job creation and to continue to make Indiana a stronger and more prosperous state for all Hoosiers.
Thank you for your continued support and feedback this session. Please feel free to contact me with your questions and concerns at H63@in.gov or 1-800-382-9841.
Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper)