Members of the Indiana General Assembly returned to the Statehouse on November 22 for Organization Day to hear the House Speaker deliver his yearly speech which is known for setting the tone for the upcoming legislative session.
This year, House Speaker Bosma addressed many topics including job creation during the Organization Day ceremony. During the past six years, several important legislative initiatives have passed to make Indiana one of the most business friendly climates in the nation. The General Assembly passed property tax reform, revamped the unemployment insurance trust fund, lowered the corporate income tax rate and maintained a balanced state budget.
However, due to the economic uncertainty at the national level, Indiana currently has an unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent. It is for that reason we must seriously focus on ways to improve this number and get more Hoosiers back to work.
This year will be a short session. The Indiana General Assembly is a part-time legislature, meeting on a two-year cycle. In even-numbered years the General Assembly meets for two and half months and in odd-numbered years, the body convenes for four months.
Until 1969, Indiana legislators only met once every two year. In 1970, the legislature decided to allow short sessions to deal with important issues of emergency that the state is facing.
Last session several advancements were made in our state, especially in the area of education. Work continued throughout the summer on various interim study committees to better prepare for the upcoming year. Interim committees allow more time to research and further examine important issues that are affecting Hoosiers all over the state.
I am confident that all of the legislators’ hard work and commitment to important state issues this past summer will lead to major progress this legislative session. I am truly optimistic about all of the potential developments that can be made for Indiana.
We are sure to touch on many topics of concern this session, but it is important to keep a clear focus on what the end result is and that is attracting more jobs to Indiana and helping the quarter of a million Hoosiers who are jobless get back to work.
Even though it is a short session, I have no doubt that a great deal of work will be done. I look forward to keeping you posted on the upcoming session and the progress of legislation, with job creation being our number one priority for Hoosiers across the state and right here in District 85.
I encourage everyone to watch the legislative process online; this is a transparency initiative, where you can view both the House Chamber and committee proceedings at www.in.gov/legislative . From there, click on “Watch the General Assembly Session,” on the right side of the screen.
The upcoming 2012 legislative session will begin on January 4 and according to state statutes it must be finished by March 14.
For questions or comments regarding this session, I can be reached by phone at 317-234-2993, by email at h85@IN.gov, or by mail at the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.