STATEHOUSE (April 13, 2009) - I hope everyone had a glorious and blessed Easter weekend. It was nice to spend a little extra time with family and friends and prepare for the final push at the Statehouse.
We are down to the last couple of days for Senate bills to pass the House and vice-versa. Wednesday is the last day, and each day's calendar will undoubtedly grow as we get there.
There are a few issues that are coming up that will be interesting to debate. Today (Monday), we will begin debate on the graduated drivers license bill (Senate Bill16). This is Sen. Travis Holdman's bill that would add tighter restrictions to 16-year-olds who will be getting their drivers license. It also has language that will restrict cell phone use for all drivers under the age of 18.
Some people feel this should extend to all drivers. We had a bill earlier in the session that dealt with cell phone restrictions, and it would have extended the ban to all drivers. I opposed that bill it was not amended to allow hands free use. I do not support a total ban on cell phone use.
I do, however, support a total ban on texting while driving. The number of accidents involving texting is growing, and this is a big problem among younger drivers. We will see how this unfolds. E-mail me your thoughts on this issue at H79@in.gov.
A bill that I am co-sponsoring (Senate Bill 285) would allow counties to establish an electronic database that would allow them to send tax bills to property owners electronically, via e-mail. This would save money on paper, processing and mail.
The bill also would allow you to make your payment electronically via EFT on a monthly basis, which should help people with their budgeting. This would be available to anyone who does not have an escrow account.
Another bill of interest is Senate Bill 89, a bill that would require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges to a hospital in the county where the abortion is being preformed. This is a good law and will protect those women who may have complications from an abortion.
Many have contacted me with concerns that this is a backdoor effort to restrict abortions. While that may be one of the results, the bill itself will help women in need, and I support any law that will make abortions safer and rarer.
We also have bills this week dealing with crime, adoption, voting, transportation, energy and many other topics. This will be an interesting week.
Sorry, though, still no debate on the tax caps. This issue seems to be dead for this year.
Over the weekend, I was reading a book about the life of Thomas Edison. I found a couple of quotes I thought were appropriate about my current position in the Statehouse.
· "The three things that are most essential to achievement are common sense, hard work and stick-to-it-evenness."
I like this quote because, down the stretch, we will need a lot of common sense. I repeat: We will need a lot of common sense.
The other quote I found has meaning when it coming to how we process bills down here:
· "Inspiration can be found in a pile of junk. Sometimes, you can put it together with a good imagination and invent something."
I hope everyone is having a nice spring, and I hope you have been able to get out and do some yard work, take a walk or just enjoy the warmer weather.
Keeping things in Lehman's terms,