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Coming together in conference committees
Start Date: 3/7/2014Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Date: 3/7/2014End Time: 8:00 AM
Entry Description
The end of the 2014 legislative session is in sight, which means our bills are nearing their final stages before potentially becoming law. The House has passed our third reading deadline and sent all Senate bills back to their chamber. We now have all our bills back from the Senate.

Legislation does not always return to the House quite the way it left though, and in some cases, it doesn’t return at all. Just like the House may have amended Senate bills, our authored House bills may contain changes made by the Senate.

When amendments are made to House bills in the Senate chamber or vise-versa, the bill must return to the author for concurrence (acceptance of the amendments) or dissent (disagreement with the amendments). If the author does not agree with the changes, the bill must be discussed in a conference committee. Conference committees keep each chamber in balance, protecting Hoosiers by ensuring every law is thoroughly researched, discussed and debated.

These committees consist of four legislators, two from the House and two from the Senate, representing both parties. These four legislators study the bill in question to come up with an agreement on what the final bill should include, which is then voted on by both chambers. If they both approve the amended bill, it goes to the governor. If not, the bill doesn’t become law.

One of my bills regarding dairy product guidelines, which I wrote about a while ago, was amended in the Senate. Language was added stating that the Creamery Examining Board may refuse to issue or reissue a milk tester’s license or milk sampler’s license to someone who has a prior suspension or revocation of either license and gives the Creamery License Division more control over milk and cream records. The House version of the bill focused on other aspects of dairy guidelines, but I decided to concur with the Senate changes because I felt that they improved the bill.

Some authors decide to dissent on amended bills, meaning they think some work still needs to be done to make the bill the best possible piece of legislation. That is when the bill will go to a conference committee.

I co-sponsored a bill from the Senate regarding the growth and production of industrial hemp (which I wrote about last week), and it was amended in the House. We sent it back to the Senate, and they thought that the bill could still be improved upon. So, representatives from both the House and Senate conferred on the amendments made in the House and agreed on the best version to send to the governor.  

The conference committee process can be lengthy, which is why the last couple weeks of session are dedicated specifically to this purpose. As session wraps up, I will continue to keep you updated on our final actions. I am excited to spend more time in our community over the interim and see the positive impact these new laws have on Hoosiers. 

-30-

State Rep. Don Lehe serves as Chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. He also serves on the Environmental Affairs Committee and the Public Health Committee. Rep. Lehe represents portions of White, Cass, Carroll, Clinton and Tippecanoe Counties.

Contact Information:
Name: Maggie Johnson
Phone: 317-232-9693
Email: maggie.johnson@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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