[r72] A Clere view of the Statehouse: As summer fades, study heats up (8/31/2010)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Start Date: 8/31/2010 All Day
End Date: 8/31/2010

Six weeks ago, I wrote about interim study committees - also called summer study committees. Summer may be waning, but the committee schedule is not. The calendar for the next six weeks is full, and legislation will result from many of the more than two dozen meetings.

Two weeks after the November election, the Indiana General Assembly will meet for Organization Day. The legislative session will start in January, and it will be influenced by the work of the study committees.

All of the committee meetings are open to the public, and meeting announcements, agendas and minutes are available on the Internet at www.in.gov/legislative. Under the heading "Interim Study Committees" you will find links to a list of committees and a meeting calendar.

All meetings are at the Statehouse unless otherwise noted.

As always, if you do not have Internet access, feel free to call my office at 1-800-382-9841 to request a copy of any document, including a complete list of study committees and topics. In addition, I will hold two open public forums in October to review the work of the study committees and discuss the upcoming session and your ideas and concerns.

Today (second day of a two-day meeting) - Natural Resources Study Committee. The committee is holding its first and only scheduled meeting at Pokagon State Park in Angola. Yesterday's agenda included an update on recent changes in laws, rules and programs and discussion of legislative proposals. Today's agenda includes lake management, background information on coal bed methane and discussion of issues and topics for future committee meetings.

Tomorrow - 1 p.m., Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee. The committee's first meeting will focus on "sexting" - sending nude photos by cell phone. Methamphetamine will be the subject of the committee's Sept. 8 meeting. The agenda will include discussion of the effects of meth on state and local governments and individuals and the cost of enforcement and cleanup. In addition, the committee will look at the implementation and effectiveness a tracking system for pseudoephedrine - cold medicine used in the production of meth - and whether ephedrine and pseudoephedrine should be classified as controlled substances. A third meeting, on Sept. 29, will look at issues relating to parole and community corrections.

Thursday - 10 a.m., Commission on Courts. The committee will review requests for new courts. Last month, at its first meeting, the committee approved reorganization of courts in three counties, including Clark.

1 p.m., Water Resources Study Committee.

1 p.m., Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy. The Commission will hear testimony on tax credits for contributions to foundations that provide scholarships for low-income students to attend private school.

Aug. 30 - 1 p.m., Interim Study Committee on School Funding Formula. The committee will hear information about basic school statistics and information, formulas used by other states and other approaches to state budgeting of tuition support. This meeting should be of particular interest to anyone concerned about funding for public education. A second meeting is scheduled for Sept. 29.

Aug. 31 - 1:30 p.m., Interim Study Committee on Education. The committee will discuss causes, effects and solutions to the problem of absenteeism.

Sept. 7 - 10 a.m., Commission on Mental Health. The commission will receive follow-up information about teen suicide - a topic at the commission's first meeting - and other issues.

10:30 a.m., Probate Code Study Commission. Also meets Sept. 21.

Sept 8 - 9:30 a.m., Health Finance Commission. Tentative agenda items include a statewide smoking ban, whether pharmacists should be required to inform prescribing physicians of certain drug substitutions and whether a board should be established to license paramedics.

1 p.m., Interim Study Committee on Driver Education. The agenda wasn't available; the committee's first meeting focused on standards and effectiveness.

Sept. 9 - 10 a.m., Committee on Child Care. This is the committee's only scheduled meeting. It will receive an update on its recommendations from last year.

10 a.m., Environmental Quality Service Council. The agenda wasn't available. The last meeting included an annual report from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Sept. 13 - 1 p.m., Commission on Developmental Disabilities. I attended the commission's first meeting, on Aug. 17, because funding for pre-vocational services was on the agenda, and Rauch Inc., which is based in New Albany and provides services for people with developmental disabilities, had brought a concern to my attention. This is an example of how study committee meetings relate to local issues and concerns. A third meeting is scheduled for Oct. 5.

Sept. 14- 9:30 a.m., Regulatory Flexibility Committee, House Chambers. The committee will discuss the use of cloud computing technology and the safety and protection of information generated by state agencies. The committee also will receive annual reports from the Indiana Utility and Regulatory Commission and the State Utility Forecasting Group. The committee will meet again Sept. 28.

1:30 p.m., Child Custody and Support Advisory Committee. The agenda wasn't available. This is the committee's only scheduled meeting.

Sept. 15 - 1 p.m., Commission on Autism. The commission met Aug. 10. The minutes of that meeting and the agenda for this meeting were not available.

Sept. 17 - 11 a.m., Census Data Advisory Committee. The agenda wasn't available, but the committee will be working on legislative redistricting, so there are likely to be some hot topics.

Sept 21 - 10 a.m., Select Joint Commission on Medicaid Oversight. The commission's first meeting included a variety of updates from the state Family and Social Services Administration. Tentative agenda items include administration of public assistance, Medicaid eligibility determination and nursing facility reimbursement structure and staffing.

Sept. 29 -10 a.m., Pension Management Oversight Commission.

1:30 p.m., Code Revision Commission.