[r85] Pond Report: Addressing important issues during the interim (7/8/2011)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Start Date: 7/8/2011 All Day
End Date: 7/8/2011
Every year after the legislative session is complete, the Legislative Council meets to assign topics to study during the interim. The interim is the time between when one session ends and the next begins. During this time, the Legislative Council also establishes new interim committees that examine specific issues.

Interim study committees focus on particular topics and work to develop solutions for issues affecting Hoosiers. These committees have proven to be important to the legislative process because they are often where legislation for the upcoming session is developed.

Committee assignments were recently distributed and I have been placed on three different committees. I will be working on the Child Custody and Support Advisory Commission, the State Fair Advisory Committee and the Education Commission of the States.

As a member of the Child Custody and Support Advisory Commission, I will be responsible for reviewing the child support guidelines adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court. The committee will make recommendations, if appropriate, concerning any amendments to the guidelines.

Also, we will be reviewing custody and educational expenses, as well as any other items relating to the welfare of a child from a family that is no longer together. This committee works towards protecting the well being of our youngest Hoosiers.

The State Fair Advisory Committee will serve as a liaison between the Indiana State Fair Commission, the State Fair Board and the General Assembly. Some of the duties we have on this committee include reviewing policies affecting the activities of the commission, state fair, facilities at the fairgrounds and property owned by the commission.

As a member of the State Fair Advisory Committee, we will provide guidance and recommendations concerning possible legislation for the commission and the State Fair Board.

Finally, the Education Commission of the States is a multistate compact created in 1965 to improve public education by facilitating the exchange of information, ideas and experiences among state policymakers and education leaders.

Besides all the topics that are discussed, the summer study committees are also important because this is a time when public testimony is heard. This allows the committee a chance to hear stories from people who are directly affected by the issues being discussed.  This is truly a great opportunity for you to participate and get involved in the legislative process. Most of the meetings are held at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis.

If you are interested in speaking, call ahead and notify the committee chairperson so a timeslot for your testimony can be included in the schedule. You can also attend even if you just wish to sit in and gain more information on a topic.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of what goes on during the summer months and ways in which you can get involved. I look forward to working on these committees and furthering the discussion among these topics. It is important to take the time to examine these issues thoroughly and give anyone who wishes to voice their opinions the opportunity to do so.

I will keep you posted on the legislative study committees during the summer and as always please feel free to contact me on any issue you are having. If you would like more information on summer committees, you can contact my legislative assistant Tom Havens at 1-800-382-9841 or 317-234-9278. A full schedule of the 2011 summer committees is available online at http://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/.