[r65] Rural Legislative Caucus Organized (3/17/2009)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Start Date: 3/17/2009 All Day
End Date: 3/17/2009
(STATEHOUSE) Mar. 17, 2009 - Hoosiers in rural areas will have a stronger voice in state policy thanks to the efforts of a bipartisan group of rural legislators.

The Indiana Rural Caucus, a newly formed organization within the Indiana General Assembly, includes members of the Indiana Senate and House of Representatives, including Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford).

"For years, the urban areas of our state have effectively united to advance their common interests," said Rep. Koch. "The Rural Caucus will provide a forum for legislators from rural areas to educate, cooperate, and coordinate on issues of mutual concern."

Issues that Rep. Koch expects the Rural Caucus to address include:

·         Expanding broadband coverage in rural communities.

·         Farmland Assessed Valuation.

·         Accessing USDA Broadband funds.

·         Rural community storm sewer and wastewater treatment assistance.

·         Working with USDA-Rural Development and rural utilities for community needs.

·         Ensuring that Indiana's rural communities get their share of stimulus funds.

·         Addressing transportation and transportation infrastructure in rural communities.

·         Accessing grant programs for rural communities.

·         Inclusion of pickup trucks in the LRS funding formula.

·         A more equitable school funding formula for rural schools.

·         Accessing EPA utilities aid.

·         Rural healthcare issues.

·         Working more closely with local zoning and health boards on agricultural issues.

·         Methamphetamine use and production.

The Rural Caucus will celebrate National Ag Week this week and will receive a briefing from Anne Hazlett, the new director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture, concerning the federal stimulus bill.