[r73] Rep. Davisson's Legislative Update (2/18/2011)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Start Date: 2/18/2011 All Day
End Date: 2/18/2011
Indiana General Assembly House of Representatives

State Rep. Steve Davisson                                           Contact: Gareth Evans or Ayisha Tahir
Indiana House Republican Caucus                                House Communications Division
Room 401-3, Statehouse                                              1-317-232-9659 or 1-800-382-9841
Indianapolis, IN  46204                                                e-mail: gevans@iga.in.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             February 7, 2011
Legislative update from State Rep. Steve Davisson
Although we were in session for only two days this past week, we are not going to let the snow slow us down. So far in the 2011 session, we have sent several bills to the Senate for consideration and we are starting to receive bills from their chamber as well. The legislative session has been busy, but also very productive. As many of you may have heard, we heard some very important and heavily debated bills this last week.
Unemployment insurance was one of the most significant bills that was read over in the House and passed to the Senate after a contentious vote of 61 to 38. The unemployment benefit bill is a vital piece of legislation because it tackles the important issue of repaying our $2 billion debt to the federal government and trying to make unemployment benefits fair for everyone. 
The bill has set up a pay schedule to make sure Indiana has paid its debt and interest to the federal government by 2020. I think that this is a noteworthy aspect of the bill because it is extremely important that we be able to pay back our debt.  For too long, we were providing more in benefits than we were taking in and had to resort to using our reserves to pay for the benefits. Once the recession hit, we no longer had the funds to pay the large number of those who were unemployed and had to ask the federal government to loan us the money. It is of the utmost importance that we pay back the debt; we do not want to be in the same fiscal condition that some other states are in. We pride ourselves on being one of the more fiscally conservative states in the nation.  It is imperative that we address this issue right now and ensure a secure future. 
The other point worth mentioning in regards to the unemployment insurance bill is that it seeks to rectify the current system. That is, we want to make the system fairer to every individual who receives benefits. This means that seasonal employees will no longer receive more in benefits than another individual who makes the same salary. Additionally, "on-call" or "as-needed" employees will no longer receive benefits when they are called for work. We want to reform the current system and close all loopholes that exist.  I support any initiative that helps those in need and makes it a fair process.
Another piece of legislation that I was involved in was the unused medication HB 1017. This bill would allow correctional facilities to return unused medication back to the pharmacy that dispensed the medication.  This bill passed through the House 98 to 0 and will now go to the Senate chamber.
As you can see from my discussion, we have already had to work on some very complex issues in the 5 weeks that we have been in session and we will be tackling more issues in the coming weeks. As always, I encourage you all to send me your thoughts and concerns on any of the legislation we will be covering.  Know that I am working hard to best represent the interests of District 73. Thank you for your continued support.