Ubelhor: Working for you this session

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Friday, January 23, 2015

The 2015 legislative session is in full swing. As your state representative, I will continue working hard to represent your thoughts and opinions at the Statehouse, and I look forward to moving our community forward. While the legislative process might seem intricate at times, it starts very simple: with an idea. The ideas can come from anyone, not just lawmakers, and turn into tomorrow’s law.

Recently, a teacher in our community had a great idea noticing that many schools and restaurants throw away a lot of food and that something should be done to recycle and convert it into a useful product. Out of this situation, I authored House Bill (HB) 1170 which would allow restaurants and schools to provide their excess food to a facility that could recycle it into swine feed. Of course, for the safety of the animals, the food must be treated according to the rules adopted by the Indiana Board of Animal Health.

This bill will allow for most food waste to be pelletized only by facilities with a valid license. Once the food is made, a state chemist will have to inspect and approve it to be used. Currently, federal law allows the recycling of food waste into dry, pelletized swine feed, but state law does not currently allow that. While this was a great idea and could lead to a new law, bills can also be filed to address problems impacting our communities or situations facing teachers for example.

For too long, teachers have been spending their hard-earned dollars on classroom supplies, which is money that should be going to their families. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by SheerID and Agile Education Marketing, in the 2013-2014 school year, teachers in the United States spent an average of $513 out-of-pocket on classroom supplies, instructional materials, books for their classrooms and professional development.

Working to address this issue, in October, the House Republicans announced our legislative agenda, and I am proud that education is one of the top priories this year. Since having a high quality education system is critical to our state’s continued success, I am pleased to work on legislation to support Hoosier teachers.

As co-author of House Bill 1005, one of our agenda bills, it would provide teachers with a $200 tax credit for classroom supplies. The legislation was referred to the Education Committee, and since it supports Indiana’s educators, who are vital to a child’s future, I am excited to present HB 1005, alongside my colleagues, to the members of the committee.

These are just two of many examples of the work we are doing at the Statehouse, and I encourage you to get involved and stay-up-to-date this session. By visiting the Indiana General Assembly website www.iga.in.gov, you can watch committee meetings, floor discussions and bills that you are most interested in move through the legislative process.

As always, please feel free to email me at h62@iga.in.gov or call (317) 232-9863 to voice your opinion on these or any other issue discussed this year. Your views matter, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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Rep. Ubelhor (R-Bloomfield) represents the majority of Greene County and portions of Monroe, Martin and Daviess counties. He serves as a member of the Ways and Means, Public Policy and the Natural Resources committees.