Summer study committees at the Statehouse
Indiana’s legislature does not meet year round; we are part-time, which has many benefits. To name a few, members representing the people don’t lose touch with their constituents. Legislators have to come back to their communities and live by the laws they created, more fully understanding the impact of each law, a perspective that can sometimes be lost by legislators on the federal level.
I love being an educator, and I am honored to be state representative. It’s a humbling experience to serve in both of these capacities, thankfully in Indiana I can be both. Since we are only at the Statehouse for session 3-4 months a year, we take part in summer study committees to better understand and further research complicated issues facing Hoosiers.
Summer study committees, also referred to as interim study committees, are comprised of members of the House and Senate along with experts in areas relevant to the topics being discussed. These committees spend the summer months studying issues that have the potential of being introduced as legislation in the upcoming session. Members also evaluate how legislation passed during the previous session has been implemented in case corrections need to be made to address unforeseen problems that may have arisen.
There are a variety of reasons an issue is sent to a study committee, but the most common is that the issue is too intensive to be solved in a short amount of time during session. I do not feel that it is prudent to pass legislation that will have a sweeping impact on Indiana unless we have a firm grip and understanding of its impact. Summer study committees allow us the time to go through these issues with a microscope, looking at things from a variety of perspectives. This way we are able to give thought out recommendations to the General Assembly for further discussion.
This year, I am a member of the Midwestern Higher Education Commission and the School Safety Interim Study Committee. I am eager to dive into the issues that these committees will be addressing, including how to best protect Hoosier students and how to make Indiana’s higher education the best in the nation. Last session an issue on everyone’s mind was how to create the best and safest learning environment for students in Indiana. We made some headway, but there is plenty more to be done, and I plan on utilizing every minute of our time to find effective plans for Hoosier schools.
Most committees have a Nov. 1 deadline to move forward with recommendations for Indiana’s General Assembly, so we will be shifting into high gear in the coming months.
Once interim study committees begin, they will be broadcast live, so anyone with computer access can watch the proceedings online. To watch a committee, please visit: www.in.gov/legislative. As we move along, I will be sure to update you on how these committees are progressing. Have a wonderful week!