The Legislative Session Begins!
Wednesday launched the 2011 Legislative Session for the House of Representatives. It was historic in the bipartisan tone set by Speaker Bosma (R-Indianapolis) including the first ever naming of minority party committee chairs. That mood was tested when past-Speaker and now Minority Leader Bauer (D-South Bend) pushed some procedural issues that would create premature voting on bills that had yet to be heard, or read by legislators. This is the kind of behavior most Hoosiers abhor. Be assured that I completely support and will work hard to continue the bipartisan commitment and to exhibit the professionalism, problem solving and consensus-building you expected when you elected me.
Representative Bauer's issue of concern was regarding labor bills that have been assigned to the Employment, Labor and Pension Committee of which I am vice chair. We are very early in the process. This and many other bills will be "worked over" in the committee before proceeding back to the House floor for a vote and/or amendments. We need to let democracy take its course - and I don't believe it to be fair for members to vote on a bill, before even reading it. At a time of almost 10% unemployment in Indiana, we must be brave enough to bring ideas like this to light and consider them carefully. I will continue to provide educational information on the topics that come through not only the committee I serve on, but also those that are "contested" on the House Floor.
I have several bills making their way through the filing process. The Young Entrepreneur Auction continues to gain momentum. The Informed Consent bill is being drafted. Several less notable pieces are making their way through, as well. I have also signed on as co-author to a bill by Representative Bacon (R-Chandler) allowing agricultural equipment and investment to be eligible for tax abatement. This idea was raised by farmers last spring when then-Candidate Bacon and I hosted a Farmers' Breakfast with the lieutenant governor. I am pleased to support this wonderful idea.
Passing a balanced budget, education funding and improvement, and job creation remain the priorities in this legislative session. I look forward to reporting progress as bills begin to move through the legislature in the coming week.
All are welcome to join us this Saturday morning for a Legislative Update at VUJC. Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), Rep. Steve Davisson (R-Salem) and I, among others, will be present to share and listen to your concerns.
Rep. Sue Ellspermann (R-Ferdinand)