STATEHOUSE (March 30, 2009) - Let's see, another week has passed, and the Indiana House of Representatives has little to show for it.
We debated the unemployment insurance proposal the Senate sent us, but not for very long. It was one of the first issues of the day last Thursday, but after about 20 minutes of discussion the debate was stopped and we voted to dissent on the Senate version. (A dissent vote means we do not like their version.)
As I wrote about last week, the Senate bill tried to address many of the issues that go into the unemployment fund. Remember, the House had no plan, and we have now voted against the Senate plan, so the issue now goes to a conference committee for some compromise.
The rhetoric down here says that we are a long way apart. We will see what happens.
If I may be sarcastic for a moment: Maybe it was a good thing we cut off debate. It allowed us to talk 30 minutes about a bill and amendments to a bill involving bicycle safety and when you can and can't take your hands off the handlebars.
You will be happy to know that after the 30 minutes we all agreed it was OK to take your hands off the handlebars to get a drink or scratch yourself.
So it goes.
I will admit the events of Thursday can be frustrating. I understand that bicycle safety is important but while we fill our days with debate over these types of issues we miss opportunities to debate the real issues like tax protections, unemployment and economic development.
We will see what another week brings. The last day for us to act on the Senate bills is April 15. Time is running out.
I really appreciate the e-mails that have been coming in on a variety of issues. While we may not agree on some of the issues, I truly value your thoughts and comments.
Some of you have sent me some good ideas for future legislation. Some have sent request for help on different issues. We will try our best to help you if we can or at least put you in touch with the people or departments that are responsible.
On a personal note, tonight is the annual Democrats vs. Republicans basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse. I made the team by default and have been working on my low post moves. It has been a few years since I laced up the high-tops and donned the headband.
While some guys talked last week about winning, I stayed focused on the real issue - survival. I will let you know next week how we fared.
I always appreciate feedback on the issues. Contact me at 1-800-382-9841, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping things in Lehman's terms,