[r63] Messmer Report: Summer study committees are underway

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, July 27, 2012

Every year after the legislative session has ended, the members of the Indiana General Assembly are assigned to interim committees to study specific issues. These committees examine issues that need to be more closely examined before legislative actions are considered.

There are over 40 study committees for the 2012 calendar.  You can follow the activity and schedules for individual committees on the IN.Gov website under the General Assembly tab.  Some of those committees include topics in agriculture, natural resources, child care and child custody, education, unemployment insurance, Medicaid oversight, health policy, transportation and infrastructure, as well as several others.

This year, I have been appointed as Co-Chair of the Interim Study Committee on Economic Development, and as a member of the Military Base Planning Council. The first meeting of the economic development committee will be on Aug. 20, and we will be reviewing best practices in state and local economic development policies, the use and effectiveness of tax credits and deductions, and where Indiana might have comparative advantages over other states. In addition, we will be studying the extent to which Indiana's tax laws encourage business investment, and any improvements that might be made to Indiana's tax laws; as well as how Indiana's education systems support economic development, and the benefits of existing community revitalization enhancement districts.

One of the study committees will be making recommendations on how to improve the processes at the Department of Child Services (DCS). There has been a lot of attention on DCS since they were created in 2005. They have made great strides in helping to protect Hoosier children from harmful situations, but even one child’s death or injury is too many.

The committee will study the long term needs of DCS and recommend any necessary strategies to improve the well-being of Hoosier children. The committee’s studies and findings will also delve into the follow-up provided by DCS staff in their casework and the communication between family courts and DCS.

If you have suggestions on how to improve our community or our state, please contact me at my office by phone at 317-232-9671 or by email at H63@in.gov.