STATEHOUSE-State Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) has issued the following statement regarding the 2010 legislative session:
"We finished the session with a spirit of bipartisanship on the major issues before the General Assembly knowing that the challenges we face as a state transcend partisan politics. We were able to come together in a spirit of compromise on school funding flexibility, unemployment insurance, job creation, property tax reform, PERF/TERF coordination, and many other significant issues..
"We built upon the success of Major Moves by authorizing public-private partnerships for the Illiana expressway and Ohio River bridges projects, which will create thousands of construction jobs while building transportation infrastructure at no direct cost to taxpayers. School corporations will now have more financial flexibility to mitigate the effects of budget cuts. Social promotion, which has disadvantaged the future of one in four Hoosier schoolchildren, will now come to an end with third-graders now being required to demonstrate reading proficiency before advancing.
"Deposits in Indiana financial institutions are now more secure through legislation strengthening the Public Deposit Insurance Fund. We required the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, when awarding job creation incentives to give weight to businesses that locate in areas where workers have been dislocated due to a permanent plant closure or a significant reduction in the workforce and strengthened recapture provisions when a company who has received incentives fails to deliver on its promises. And Hoosier voters-in a constitutional referendum this November-will be able to decide whether or not to permanently cap their property taxes.
"We held also to the House Republican pledge of no new taxes and no new spending, holding state government to living within its means just as taxpayers must do.
"The economic challenges we face are not over, and the next couple of years will continue to require hard choices and sound fiscal management to avoid tax increases. We must therefore continue to look for ways to streamline government and be more innovative in the way services are delivered. We must also continue to maintain the business-friendly climate we have created to be the place where new businesses want to locate and existing businesses want to expand. And we must confront the reality of-and find solutions for-our underfunded state pensions and unemployment insurance fund."
A brief summary of Rep. Koch's 2010 legislative activity:
· Author of the Problem-Solving Courts legislation (House Bill 1271) highlighted by Chief Justice Randall Shepard in his State of the Judiciary Address.
· Author of House Concurrent Resolution 8, which encourages the use of Indiana limestone.
· Author of an amendment to House Bill 1084 that requires certification of haulers of steel coils.
· Co-Author of House Bill 1205, which is estimated to save $44.6 million annually through coordination of PERF and TRF investment management and advisory services.
· Co-Sponsor of Senate Bill 110, which amended the Conservancy District Act to bring cellular telephone service to the Cordry-Sweetwater area.
· Co-Author of House Bill 1265 that begins the process of developing a regulatory structure to extract coal bed methane.
· Co-Author of House Bill 1068, which protects the private information of concealed-carry permit holders.
· Co-Author and House Republican Conferee on House Bill 1276, which restructured the distribution of the admissions tax from the French Lick casino.
· Co-Author of House Bill 1169, which improves and expands the development and operation of Volunteer Advocates for Seniors and Volunteer Advocates for Incapacitated Adults programs across the state.
· House Republican Conferee on House Bill 1065, which protects the rights of Hoosier workers to keep a firearm in their locked vehicle while at work and prevents state and local governments from confiscating firearms during a declared state of emergency.
· Co-Sponsor of Senate Bill 176, which enhances the Attorney General's ability to collect escrow amounts due from foreign tobacco product manufacturers who do not participate in the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.
· Obtained an Attorney General Advisory Opinion clarifying that local option income taxes for public safety can be distributed to volunteer fire departments through interlocal agreements between a county and a township trustee.
· Requested and received certification from the State Budget Agency that no taxpayer funds are being distributed to ACORN.
· Through membership in the Legislative Rural Caucus, negotiated with the Daniels Administration on such issues as outdoor hydronic heaters, cuts to the Meat and Poultry Inspection Program, and agriculture land assessed valuation.
Rep. Koch serves House District 65, which includes parts of Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, and Lawrence counties, and is Assistant Republican Caucus Chairman. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee, the House Commerce, Energy, Technology and Utilities and is Ranking Member of the House Courts & Criminal Code Committee.