[r75] BLT: Strengthening Indiana one bill at a time (2/10/2011)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Start Date: 2/10/2011 All Day
End Date: 2/10/2011

Strengthening Indiana one bill at a time

This week, the House passed the first Senate Bill of the session that will now go to the governor's desk. Senate Bill 32 allows counties the option of having vote centers. These vote centers could be placed in places like malls or grocery stores rather than traditional polling places, but the county election boards would first have to approve the vote centers after getting the public's input. This bill is an effort to make it more convenient for Hoosiers to be able to get out and vote, and save counties money.

The biggest bill that was heard in the House this week was House Bill 1002, which expands charter schools in the state. It allows charter schools and other area public schools to share transportation and buildings, as well as set up ways to hold charter schools even more accountable than they already are. HB1002 also sets up a uniform system for transferring credits between charter schools and other public schools so that students switching between the two will get proper credit for the classes they have taken. This bill is a part of our Strengthen Indiana Plan, which is intended to promote job creation in the state and create better education for Hoosiers. After many hours of debate on the House floor, the bill passed by a vote of 59-37 and now goes over to the Senate for further review. This is a very important bill to allow more opportunities for our children in failing school systems and bring greater accountability for charter schools, so I'll be sure to keep you informed of the bill's progress through the Senate.

Another important bill that we heard in the House this week was HB1007, which allows local and county governments to provide tax breaks for various things like information technology equipment. County governments would also be allowed to give property tax breaks for certain types of personal property, and a property owner could deduct part of the costs of rehabilitating a building or structure on their property that's at least 25 years old.

Another part of the bill authorizes cities and counties to provide businesses with hiring incentives for new job creation. This bill helps both Hoosiers and Hoosier businesses by making investing in the future, be it through technology for businesses or land for Hoosiers, less of a financial burden and encourages job creation for Hoosiers. The bill passed the House by a vote of 94-0 and now goes over to the Senate.

I also coauthored a bill with Representative Sue Ellspermann (R-Ferdinand) that passed unanimously in the House on Thursday. HB1251 establishes a Young Entrepreneurship Program through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). The program will promote business proposals of students in entrepreneurial programs at state education institutions. It would also require at least one auction a year for communities to bid for the opportunity to locate a young entrepreneur's start-up business in their community, as well as assist rural communities in preparing for an auction. This bill is very important to help job creation and keep our young graduates in this state. Anything we can do to help job creation, assist young entrepreneurs, and keep jobs in the state is critical to our state's economy, and it was great to see such bipartisan support of this bill.

Lastly, my bill to provide tax relief for farmers revitalizing certain agricultural areas made it through committee on Wednesday and will be heard by the House floor sometime next week. This is the first bill I've authored to make it to the House floor so far, so I am very excited to see how it turns out.

As always, I'll keep you informed on this and any other important bill that comes through the House, and be sure to continue providing me with any feedback you have.

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Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler)