As the 2012 Legislative Session adjourns we have managed to come together and address several key issues that are important not only to our state but to District 85. Substantial advancements were made during the 117th General Assembly as a whole, which includes both the 2011 and 2012 sessions.
One of our major focuses was to find ways to boost our state’s economic condition while putting more Hoosiers back to work. Last year, we passed legislation to increase access to start-up capital for businesses and created a One-Stop Shop for businesses so they can partner locally and regionally.
By passing this type of legislation, Indiana sets itself apart from other states in the Midwest and I believe it will be instrumental in helping us attract new jobs. Indiana is starting to turn the corner and actually led the nation in job creation by adding 12,000 jobs in December. We are on track to becoming a leader not only in the Midwest but an economic leader in our country.
Besides furthering job creation in our state, we made advancements in several other arenas. Education is the building block to our children’s future and the General Assembly passed several important reforms last year. The most significant was expanding options for parents who seek alternatives for their child’s educational needs. This year, we will pass an additional $80 -$100 million dollars for full-day kindergarten. Schools who wish to take advantage of these additional grant dollars will be prohibited from charging parents tuition for full-day kindergarten.
We worked to help our college students too. Senate Bill 182 will help students who need to transfer their credits. This requires the Commission for Higher Education to create a common course numbering system for transferable credits. For any student who has gone through the hassle of transferring schools, this bill will make this process easier and hopefully less costly.
Finally, we took steps to reduce state government. House Bill 1002 streamlines our government by eliminating 22 unnecessary, outdated or duplicative boards, commissions and committees. The bill reduces the number of gubernatorial and legislative appointments by at least 260. We needed to address the fact that Indiana has too many boards and commissions that are unnecessary and inactive.
As you can see there were a variety of issues discussed this year, and this was only a quick glimpse. The main objective is always passing legislation that will assist and improve the lives of all Hoosiers and our state. We have accomplished a tremendous amount of work this session and it’s my hope that it will make a positive impact for years to come.