The 2018 legislative session kicked off earlier this month, and I am working on behalf of you and your family to move Indiana forward. This session is considered a “short session” and is only 10-weeks long, with all business required to be completed by March 14. House Republicans are focused on addressing K-12 funding, increasing government efficiency, strengthening Indiana’s workforce and attacking the opioid epidemic.
Setting young Hoosiers up for success is key to our state’s future. Each year, Indiana spends $7 billion on K-12 education. While crafting our budget, we base school funding on calculated estimates of student populations. To account for a higher than expected increase in enrollment at our traditional public schools, we want to boost funding for K-12 education. This will ensure that Hoosier students, educators and schools will have the per-pupil funding they were expecting after the passage of last year’s biennial state budget.
In 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked Indiana No. 1 for state government administration. We will build on this momentum by considering efforts to further reduce government bureaucracy, streamline local and state government reporting requirements and consolidate townships that have a population of less than 1,200. These reforms will improve government efficiency while maintaining accountability and public transparency.
Our state’s low unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent, and we are in the position where even more jobs need to be filled by Hoosiers. In fact, it is estimated we will need to fill 1 million jobs by 2022. Indiana currently spends $1 billion on workforce programs, but employers are still struggling to find qualified workers to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs. This session, House Republicans will re-evaluate workforce-related programs and work to connect Career and Technical Education students with local employers.
A startling number of Hoosier are dealing with the devastating effects of drug addiction. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, there was a 52 percent increase in opioid overdoses from 2015 to 2016, and nearly 100 Hoosiers die each month from a drug overdose. As part of Indiana’s continued fight against the opioid epidemic, I will support efforts to expand substance abuse and treatment options, and provide licensure flexibility for mental health professionals.
As we focus on addressing K-12 funding, increasing government efficiency, strengthening Indiana’s workforce and attacking the opioid epidemic, many other topics are being discussed as well. I encourage you to visit iga.in.gov where you can research bills and watch committee hearings and session. You can also visit www.in.gov/h53 to fill out my legislative survey and sign-up to receive my e-newsletter updates.
State Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) represents House District 53,
which includes portions of Hancock and Madison Counties
A high-resolution photo of Cherry can be downloaded by clicking here.