[r76] Working hard for Southwest Indiana (3/25/2011)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Start Date: 3/25/2011 All Day
End Date: 3/25/2011
My top goals for this legislative session were to build relationships that enhance our part of the state and to pass meaningful legislation.

Last week, I informed you about efforts to help alleviate funding issues for ours school. This week, I would like to inform you of initiatives to move forward with Statehouse work and my efforts to build strong relationships that will refocus attention on Southwest Indiana.

We have been moving forward with work here at the Statehouse in an effort to have legislation passed that will help Hoosiers and their families. As of last Monday, House Republicans started to participate in Senate committee hearings on House bills and began holding our own informal House committee hearings on Senate bills.

The Democrats still have not returned, but we are moving forward so that we are prepared for the final weeks of this legislative session and will be able to move quickly to get legislation passed in time.

We have chosen this path to try and avoid Governor Daniels having to call a special session, which the Democrats' absence continues to push us towards. House Republicans want to avoid this at all costs, because a special session will be held at the expense of taxpayer dollars.

Despite the disruption to the democratic process, some legislation has made its way to the Governor's desk. I am pleased to report; two House bills, which moved through the Senate without amendments, were signed by Governor Daniels last week.

The two bills are House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1251 and HEA 1371. HEA 1251 requires the Indiana Economic Development Council (IEDC) to establish a young entrepreneurial program at state educational institutions and HEA 1371 establishes a joint study committee on transportation and infrastructure assessment and solutions.

One of the most important bills the Governor needs to sign this session is the budget bill. It is the constitutional obligation of the state legislature to pass a budget every other year. In an effort to ensure this happens, we are now working in conjunction with the Senate to get a budget passed.

Typically, the budget's origin is in the House of Representatives, but to move us forward, the Senate has begun crafting a budget in their chamber. The goal for this year's budget - is for it to return us to a time of fiscal responsibility.

In addition to working to pass legislation that will improve Southwestern Indiana, I have also strived to build relationships that strengthen our section of the state. Or as many of us say, "let's remind them that we are part of Indiana and not Kentucky." This has been and will remain to be one of my key focuses during my tenure as a representative.

One key relationship, which is relevant to almost all of us, is with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), to help receive funding to fix our roads and bridges. I am resolute in ensuring that our district is noticed and recognized and that key aspects of our community, such as our infrastructure remain up-to-date.

I have and continue to remind them of the needs in our community, such as in Posey County, a safer route for trucks to turn west out of the Port, the "truck ruts" that line Highway 62 in Mount Vernon and many other issues that have been brought to my attention by constituents.

In Vanderburgh County, I asked weekly when repaving would begin on Highway 62 from the Posey County Line past USI. And--good news, last week I was told they have awarded the contract and that the project should begin shortly. I hope you are all as pleased to hear this as I was; this has been a need in our community for some time.

I remain committed to being your voice here in Indianapolis, working hard for you and for the betterment of our district. Please feel free to contact me with comments or concerns at 317-234-3827 or email me at h76@in.gov.