[r73] Excitement at the Statehouse (3/2/2011)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Start Date: 3/2/2011 All Day
End Date: 3/2/2011

Legislative Update from Rep. Steve Davisson


Many of you are probably aware of the excitement that has been going on at the Statehouse, with the House Democrats fleeing to Illinois to avoid working on important issues. In doing this, they have stalled progress on several important bills, one of which is the state budget bill.


The walk-out has caused 23 committee reports to die and as a result, they will not be heard on the House floor for the rest of the session. A lot of these bills were really important such as the 13th check bill which would inject $41 million into public servant retirement plans. House Bill 1181 would have helped Hoosiers who are grappling with foreclosure. Additionally, there was a bill that proposed allowing independent commissions to draw the new congressional districts to avoid gerrymandering.


I am disappointed that our colleagues would halt the legislative session and avoid their elected duty. Such behavior made me think of the conversation I had with my son, who is a member of the Indiana National Guard and has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. My son related to me that he gave an oath to serve his government, as legislators have, and if he had avoided his duty there would be serious consequences. He acknowledged that the job is difficult and can get rough, but he always remembered his pledge to serve his country.


An equally significant aspect of the Democrats avoiding their duty is the fact that we have worked really hard to cultivate good, working relationships with our colleagues across the aisle. I have served on several committees with them and have enjoyed the opportunity to work with them on several bills. It is frustrating to see that they would rather run than discuss their issues with some of the legislation we have proposed this session. Throughout the session, we have opened our arms to them accepting many of their ideas and amendments to some of the legislation we have proposed, including adding their 13 amendments to the charter school bill. We have worked really hard to make this session a bipartisan one, where no one's ideas are marginalized. If and when the House Democrats do return, it will be a difficult to resume business as usual knowing how they reacted to legislation they opposed. 


It is important to recognize that as legislators we face very complex issues that do not always garner support from everyone involved. In fact, much of the legislative process is comprised of negotiation and compromise. Doing so allows me to be engaged and provide input on many important issues. I think that it would be very easy for me to proclaim their dislike for certain legislation and not vote for it, but acting this way robs me of any involvement in the process. I want all of you to know that I will always work hard to best represent the interests of District 73.