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[r15] Rep. Lehe: Bringing Rural Issues to the Statehouse
Start Date: 2/9/2012 All Day
End Date: 2/9/2012
Entry Description

Bringing Rural Issues to the Statehouse

Some people think that the bills being debated at the Statehouse do not directly impact their lives. Many of the issues you are hearing about on the news are the bigger state-wide issues. These can sometimes be controversial and are what attract the most attention. But what about the issues that affect District 15 and those who live here?

For the most part we are considered to be a more rural district. Be certain that small town issues are brought up at the Statehouse just as much as big city issues. It is my job to convey the concerns of our district and represent all of those who reside here.

Certain pieces of legislation have moved their way out of the House this year that will directly impact many of our rural, agricultural areas. I personally authored a bill pertaining to the Corn Marketing Council. This bill not only affects corn and corn producers, it acts directly to influence the ethanol industry and how it impacts consumers. This legislation will work to assure availability and affordability of this renewable resource to the consumer.

As an operator of a family farm, I have learned that what is good for the farming business is good for all businesses. This year, we dealt with inheritance tax and how it affects families of those who leave behind a business after they have passed away. This legislation would allow this tax to phase out after ten years. Most importantly it allows savings to be passed on. This bill will be great for family owned farming operations and all businesses for that matter.

This year House Bill 1129 involves The Indiana State Chemist. They are in charge of administering agricultural laws involving seeds, fertilizers, animal feeds and pesticides. The main issue at hand is labeling information specifically on raw milk. The legislation would prohibit packages of animal feed from promoting, advertising or insinuating that it is for human consumption. If someone chooses to drink raw milk and suffers health problems then the fault would be with that person. Furthermore, this will grant the state chemist the ability to issue civil penalties for violations of fertilizer laws.

One final issue that I am often contacted about is water, sewage and waste districts. There is legislation in place that would allow the property owner to apply for two 5 year extensions to an exemption from connecting to a district’s sewer system. It would also work to establish that a district cannot require a property owner to connect to the district’s sewer system and creates a procedure where a ratepayer can object to initial rates and charges. Even though this does not pertain to agriculture it is something that is relevant in our district and worth mentioning.

Please keep in mind that these bills successfully moved their way out of the House but the next step in the legislative process involves a hearing in the Senate. Due to this, these bills may be amended or changed. I am hopeful they will move out of the Senate and to the Governor’s desk where they can be signed into law.

I hope this gives you a glimpse into the legislative issues that you may not have heard about on the news, but are still vitally important, especially to areas like District 15. Keep in mind that I take all feedback and concerns seriously and work to make sure these types of issues get brought up each and every year at the Statehouse.

Contact Information:
Name: Casey Arqawi
Phone: 317-234-9016
Email: carqawi@iga.in.gov
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    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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