The interim brings study committees
I want to start this week by saying how happy I am to be back in our community on a more regular basis. It is an honor to serve our district at the Statehouse, but it feels good to be home amongst family and friends once again. I am looking forward to attending more local events and gathering feedback from the session for how we can build on Indiana’s momentum to attract more jobs and make this state even better. Engagement is critical to the democratic process, and I am grateful for all the correspondence over the last five months, it was incredibly helpful.
We are in the beginning of the 118th Indiana legislative session’s first interim. As you are probably aware, Indiana has a part-time legislature, which means legislators are not in session year-round. Although session may have ended, my colleagues and I continue our work throughout the summer and fall. Part of our job is serving on interim study committees which take an in depth look at a variety of legislative issues in preparation for the upcoming General Assembly.
Interim study committees, also known as summer study committees, include members of the House and Senate along with experts in areas relevant to the topics being discussed. Throughout the interim, the committees review issues, study applicable legislation and analyze the effect of enacted legislation. Members evaluate the outcome of the legislation passed to see if corrections need to be made to address unforeseen problems that may have arisen.
Members of the General Assembly make suggestions for topics to be discussed, and then the Legislative Council meets to review the issues and select which issues will be assigned to a committee. The Legislative Council is made up of leaders from both the House and Senate. This year the committees have been tasked with a variety of topics including examining a proposal for mass transit in Indianapolis and local funding options for the rewrite of Indiana’s Criminal Code.
Issues can be sent to a study committee for a variety of reasons, but many times it is because the issue is too complex to be solved in the limited time during session. The interim study committees gives us the time necessary to work through these issues, hear testimony for and against and then recommend appropriate legislation to the General Assembly if it is deemed the best course of action. Since only one topic is addressed at a time, it allows legislators the time to focus and thoroughly examine it. This way they are able to craft vetted recommendations for submission to the General Assembly for further discussion.
Most committees have a Nov. 1 deadline to move forward with recommendations to make legislative changes or keep the original statute. Interim study committees are an essential function of the legislative process. Even though session has adjourned, legislators will continue their responsibilities by conducting comprehensive studies on various topics important to Hoosiers. The legislators, advisors and member of the community work to form solid groundwork for the proposed legislation that will be introduced in the 2014 session.
Once interim study committees begin they will be broadcasted live, so anyone with computer access is able to watch. To watch a committee, please visit: www.in.gov/legislative
I will continue to update you on the committees that are meeting and share any developments as they progress. Have a great week!