As we draw closer to the last day of the 2015 legislative session, my colleagues and I are working diligently to continue to promote legislation that will have a positive impact on our community and state. This week, we debated and discussed many Senate bills on the House floor, which had to be reviewed before several critical deadlines passed. With these important deadlines behind us, House and Senate bills, passed in both chambers, will move on to the next step in the legislative process, which is conference committees.
If a bill is amended and then passed in either the House or Senate, it will return to its chamber of origin and then there are two options—concurrence or dissent. If the author agrees or concurs with the amendments, the bill would be sent to the governor for his signature. If the author disagrees or dissents with the changes, a conference committee is established to work toward a compromise.
Comprised of two legislators appointed by both the House and Senate, these committees are needed to work out a version of the bill that would be satisfactory with both chambers. Although deliberating the changes can make the conference committee process lengthy and challenging, it is necessary to drafting sound legislation. If the committee reaches an agreement and all four appointees sign the conference committee report, the bill would go back for a vote in the House and Senate. If an agreement cannot be reached, which sometimes happens in conference committee, the bill would die.
Many bills will go through conference committee in the next two weeks, including our state’s biennial budget. The House proposed its version of the state budget earlier this session, and as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I am appreciative of the work our committee put towards crafting an honestly balanced budget that protects Hoosier taxpayers and invests in our education system. Recently, the Senate announced their version of the bill, which was passed by a majority and will now go to conference committee for further consideration and debate.
While overall funding for both proposed budgets are relatively similar, there are a few differences, and I am confident that the General Assembly will be able to work together to find common ground, which will allow us to build upon Indiana’s strong fiscal foundation. Over the next two weeks, I look forward to working alongside my colleagues in the Senate, so we can work out the details and send a budget to the governor’s desk that accomplishes this goal.
As bills are sent to conference committees and discussed by legislators from both chambers, I encourage you to get involved and follow legislation throughout the process. I am always interested to know your thoughts and opinions regarding these or other issues affecting our community and state. You can contact me at (317) 234-9447 or by email at email@example.com.
Rep. Braun (R-Jasper) represents portions of Daviess, Dubois, Pike and Martin Counties. He serves on the Roads and Transportation Committee and Ways and Means Committee.