[r63] Messmer Report: Success with the Super Bowl, progress in the General Assembly

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, February 10, 2012

With the roaring success of the Super Bowl last weekend, the entire nation witnessed the qualities that have made Indiana a leadership state.  By all accounts, visitors from across America and around the world were impressed with everything our state had to offer.  The event gave Indiana a chance to exhibit our business-friendly climate, our modern infrastructure, and our greatest asset: the enthusiasm and work ethic of Hoosiers.

The General Assembly is also moving forward on legislation in both the House and Senate.  Two bills I authored progressed through Senate committees this week.  House Bill (HB) 1148 would allow engineer and land surveyor exams to be administered by computer, and HB 1154 would save taxpayer dollars by repealing the local business preference for public works projects.  Both of these bills would help make government smarter and more cost-efficient.

I’m also sponsoring two Senate bills in the House.  I’ve worked for several months on Senate Bill (SB) 315 to establish comprehensive charity gaming licenses.  While many volunteer organizations hold charity gaming events each year, it can be difficult to understand all of the Indiana Gaming Commission’s (IGC) rules for acquiring a gaming license.  To streamline the process, national charity organizations would be able to coordinate charity gaming for all of their Indiana affiliates under a single license.  This would result in fewer fines on charitable causes and more funds going to the programs they support.

The other legislation I’m sponsoring, SB 329, allows people disagreeing with an assessment of their property during an eminent domain action 45 days after it is mailed instead of 20 days after it is filed in court, to file an appeal with the county’s circuit court.  The House will likely hold a committee hearing on this bill next week.

My colleagues and I on the House Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee will consider several other Senate bills next week.  SB 192 would allow the purchase, sale, and trade of motorcycles on Sunday.  By removing this unnecessary restriction on commerce, the 409 motorcycle dealers in Indiana would have the opportunity to increase their business by an additional day.

Other legislation before the committee includes SB 321 would offer a tax credit for companies investing in logistics or transportation in Indiana.  If the investment would create new jobs, preserve existing jobs, raise wages, and improve distribution centers or transportation capabilities, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) could approve a tax credit of up to $10 million each fiscal year.  This credit could be applied through 2018.

I also sit on the House Public Policy Committee which will be hearing SB 258 concerning alcohol trainer and server programs.  The bill’s provisions set standards for alcohol server programs and would allow the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) to establish its own program to train bartenders and alcohol servers.  The ATC would also be required to approve third party bartender training programs to ensure they meet state standards.  My charity gaming bill is also scheduled for this committee next week.

The 2012 Legislative Session is half over, but we’re making great progress on many issues important to Hoosiers.  If you would like to share your thoughts or concerns, I can be reached by phone at 317-232-9671 or by email at h63@in.gov.  The entire state should be proud of our performance during the Super Bowl, and as a result we’re certain to see doors open for a more prosperous Indiana in the weeks to come.