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[r29] Column: Halfway point for the Legislature
Start Date: 2/12/2014 All Day
End Date: 2/12/2014
Entry Description
Halfway point for the Legislature

This week, we are starting the second half of the 2014 legislative session, meaning the House will discuss bills that passed out of the Senate and vice versa. The first half of session was very productive. We passed a total of 146 House bills, including a number of key bills that are part of our “Working on Progress” agenda. I have touched on a few of these bills in my past columns, but here are a few others that are noteworthy:

House Bill 1002, which passed with bipartisan support, would free up money already set aside for future transportation projects to be used by the Department of Transportation (INDOT) now. Four hundred million dollars was set aside in last’s year’s biennial budget for major state projects. House Bill 1002 will make that money available, in addition to a one-time transfer of $25 million to fund local/county construction needs. With the recent cold weather and sub-zero temperatures, potholes have been an issue for motorists. The strength of the state’s infrastructure is a top priority for us, and we want to keep our roads in the best condition possible. 

Another important piece of legislation is House Bill 1039. This bill would establish the Indiana Grown Initiative to promote Hoosier-grown produce. Even though we are an agricultural state that exports over $3 billion annually, we import around 90 percent of our food. The Indiana Grown Initiative will lead to more aggressive marketing of our produce within the state to support our local farmers and enjoy the fruits of Hoosier labor.

Since it is the start of the second half of session, I thought it an appropriate time to provide a brief summary of what’s next for the House bills we passed.

As you may know, all bills must go through both the House and the Senate before they can go to the governor’s desk for his final approval. What makes the process more complicated is that both chambers have to approve the exact same wording of the bill, so if one chamber changes a bill from the other chamber, the process becomes longer.

Let’s say that the House approved a bill that I authored. That bill now goes over to the Senate, where it will go through the exact same process that it did here in the House (committees, amendments and a vote). If the Senate approves my bill without making any changes to it, it will then go to the governor’s desk. However, if my bill is amended while it is in the Senate and the Senate approves that amended bill, I have two options: concur or dissent. If I concur with the amended bill, then it will come back to the House floor for a final vote on the amended bill. If the House approves the amended bill then it will go to the governor’s desk.

However, if I express my dissent to the amended bill that the Senate passed, then the bill will be assigned to a conference committee consisting of legislators from both the House and Senate. That committee will attempt to come up with a compromise on the bill. If they can come up with a compromise, the amended version that they come up with will have to go to the House and Senate floors for a final vote by each. If it is approved by both then it goes to the governor, but if it fails in either chamber then the bill is dead.

As you can see, this is a fairly complicated and sometimes lengthy process, but it is a necessary one. In fact, three of the bills that I authored were approved by the House and will be going through this process.

I welcome our community’s continued engagement in the political process, and I am very appreciative of all the thoughts and comments so far. Please keep them coming, so I know what issues are most important to you and your family. 

-30-

Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: (317) 232-9831
Email: nicholas.goodwin@iga.in.gov
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    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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