What a week it has been! As our quorum was re-established midweek, we began moving forward in earnest. The General Assembly and governor’s highest priority bill, Right to Work, was passed through each Chamber as different bills. Each Chamber’s bill will now go to the opposite Chamber for further consideration. District 74 leans in support of Right to Work in both polls and legislative survey. Further, serving on the General Assembly Interim Study Committee, I heard over 20 hours of studies and testimony, as well as an additional hearing of the joint House and Senate Labor Committee the first week of session. This has been one of the most hotly discussed pieces of legislation I can recall in my years. As a freshman, let me tell you that one could not be weak-kneed with this legislation…no matter where you and your district fell. I strongly support the final passage of this bill and signature into law by our governor shortly. This bill provides the third stool of worker rights: a right for workers to organize, a right of that union to collectively bargain, and, finally, a right for an individual worker to choose whether to be in the union and to pay associated fees. Further, it allows our state the ability to attract many new jobs and companies to Indiana and our district…which lines up perfectly with what Hoosiers have asked us to focus on: job creation.
For those who are strongly opposed to Right to Work, I just want to thank you for reaching out, sharing your perspectives and concerns, and allowing me to share information that I think might put those concerns at ease. After passage this week, my neighborhood was visited by protesters. I thank the 50 or so who did so for acting respectfully…as I heard secondhand from my husband and our police chief…since I was doing my job at the Statehouse when the picketers were in my neighborhood.
We passed the other high priority bill, Senate Bill 4, Human Trafficking to ensure the safety of young women, young men and others against their will to be enlisted into prostitution during the Super Bowl. It was the first bill to be passed by both Houses. It would increase the penalty for forcing or recruiting minors under age 16 to participate in prostitution. Children would be further protected from being forced into prostitution, which has been proven to increase during large sporting events in urban settings, such as the Super Bowl. This bill will now go to the governor to be signed into law.
In addition, several of my bills continue to move through our committee and hearing process. The House passed HB 1173, IOSHA matters, which would protect the identity of employees that file a complaint or are listed in an inspection. Further, it protects Department of Labor employees from being subpoenaed outside the enforcement proceedings brought under the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The work of the General Assembly is well underway. We are working extra days to make up for those lost. And, we are hopeful that we will be able to remain on task to wrap-up the “first half” before the Super Bowl game next weekend.
It remains my pleasure to serve. Have a wonderful pre-Super Bowl week!