Sine Die, the end of the 2013 session
The 2013 legislative session adjourned Friday signaling the end of session. Back in November, when I was first elected to serve as the state representative for our district, I was biting at the bit to get started. I charged into the Statehouse and quickly realized I had a lot to learn in order to best serve our community, but I would like to think I was a fast study. Looking back over the last four months, it has truly been a humbling learning experience. Understanding how every piece of the legislative process works has been challenging at times, but it has taught me a lot about our state and the unique communities that make it up.
I am proud with what we were able to accomplish and hopeful for what we can do moving forward. The opportunity to work with other members of the Legislature – Republican and Democrat – allowed me to help pass legislation that will impact our community in a positive way. It is amazing to me how many of the other 99 House members and 50 senators in the General Assembly I have been able to work with this session. Creating legislation is truly a collaborative effort that requires input from both sides of the isle. There is so much to learn from one another, whether learning through their own personal expertise and occupational knowledge or experiences in the Legislature.
To chart the course upon arriving at the Statehouse, goals were set by House; implement bills that promoted greater job opportunities, provide more opportunities for students, teachers and parents to strengthen the state of Indiana’s education system and pass a balanced budget built on sustainability, tax relief and fiscal integrity. I am proud to say that we were able to accomplish those goals.
The House looked ahead to what our state will need over the next two years and beyond, and crafted HEA 1001, the Indiana Budget. Our budget increases education funding to a record high, enacts more than a billion dollars in tax cuts and allocates additional dollars for construction projects to rebuild Indiana’s infrastructure.
Workforce development has also become a concern as more Baby Boomers head for retirement, so the House passed HEA 1002, the Indiana Career Council. The council is tasked with more closely aligning the state’s education, workforce development and skills training programs to reduce the skills gap facing employers. There are jobs available in Indiana right now going unfilled because many workers lack the necessary skills to be employed.
HEA 1006 is another priority bill that created a qualified committee to thoroughly study a proposed rewrite of Indiana’s entire criminal code, as it has not been fully updated in over three decades. The goal of the committee is to examine the proposed updated code and create a way for Indiana to cut state prison costs, while providing a sentence grid that applies a more specific sentence to criminal offenses, creating a safer and more responsible state.
It is an honor to serve as your state representative, and I look forward to spending some more time in the community now that session has finished for the year. Even though session is over, I will still be studying legislation and working for our community. I will continue to be your voice in the Indiana House and support legislation that creates safer communities and greater opportunities for Hoosiers to acquire high-quality jobs. I am very optimistic looking forward and believe that together we can build a bright future for Indiana.