This was the end of our third week of the legislative “short” session which lasts through mid-March. On Friday we entered our eighth day without a quorum, disallowing us to vote bills through the House. This has resulted in $3,000 of fines being assigned to the 35 Democrats who have regularly failed to come to House Chambers in order to consider bills for passage.
The best process occurred in Employment, Labor and Pension Committee today as we heard House Bill 1006 which had been crafted by the Regulated Occupations Evaluation Committee, established by the General Assembly in 2010, and appointed to review licensing practices across the state and recommend changes. The bill included eliminating licensing for dieticians, hearing aid dealers and cosmetologists, among others. This lit up the phone lines and e-mails. I had several travel from southwest Indiana to testify against the bill. We heard over three hours of testimony… after which, the author agreed to seriously consider pulling the bill or allowing the committee to vote it down. This is the way our representative form of democracy and legislative process works in tandem. Not all bills pass, and there is sometimes not time to make all the changes necessary to make it a good bill. Most who attended noted this was their first time to participate in a hearing and appreciated the opportunity to do so.
I appreciate the support, input and civility of all in our district. I do continue to hear from a handful who are passionately against RTW while our district leans in support of it. It is our intent to hear the bill in House Chambers on Monday afternoon for possible amendments followed by an “up or down” vote later in the week. Please pray that we, as legislators, do right by our constituents while honoring the diversity of perspectives and concerns.
Blessings on your week and, as always, stay in touch!