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[r29] Column: Working throughout the summer
Start Date: 5/21/2014 All Day
End Date: 5/21/2014
Entry Description

Working throughout the summer

Every year, the Indiana General Assembly meets and conducts business during legislative sessions, which can last anywhere from two to five months. Many bills are discussed and debated while the House is in session; however, certain issues require further vetting from lawmakers and more input from the public before any decision can be made moving forward.

Although Indiana is a part-time Legislature, after each session adjourns, we continue our work throughout the summer serving on interim study committees. Lawmakers assigned to these committees will discuss a variety of issues. Recently, the Legislative Council, which I’m honored to serve on, assigned topics that will be discussed for the 2014 summer study committees. Information on these topics can be found at www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/.

Committees provide a chance for the public as well as subject matter experts to speak on the assigned topics. Then, after further discussion, debate and input from the public, lawmakers make recommendations based on those findings. Often times, these recommendations turn into bill drafts for the following legislative session. 

Due to a new law, Senate Enrolled Act 80, we were able to streamline the interim committee process. The new structure reduces government bureaucracy by allowing study committees to operate more efficiently in addition to increasing member participation. In the past and with the large numbers of committees and issues assigned, lawmakers were concerned that each issue would not receive enough time to be thoroughly vetted, essentially defeating the purpose of the study committees altogether. This new law ensures that more time is provided so lawmakers can make better informed decisions to benefit Hoosier families.

I’m very excited about some of the topics that will be addressed this summer. For example, the Interim Study Committee on Education will discuss a new law we passed to create Indiana’s first preschool pilot program. This program will provide funding for some of Indiana’s most vulnerable children to attend quality preschools. Like I mentioned in last week’s column, regarding Project Citizen at Noblesville High School, there are many things to consider when addressing issues, especially education, so it is important to continually reassess the effectiveness of this new pilot program in order to improve it. 

Another interesting topic we will look at this summer is digital privacy. Recent advances in technology have caused concerns nationwide, especially about whether our right to privacy is protected if proper checks and balances are not in place. While we made strides this past session, new technologies are constantly being developed, which is an excellent reason to continue the discussion on privacy. We want to ensure every Hoosier’s individual liberty remains protected.

These are just a couple of the many topics that will be considered this summer, and I encourage you to look through these topics, attend one of these meetings if possible and get involved in this incredible process. For those of you unable to attend a meeting this summer, but are interested in following along with the discussions, you can watch a live broadcast of each meeting on our website. As soon as the times and dates of committees are announced, the meetings will be posted on the calendar here: www.in.gov/legislative/.

Although legislation can only be passed when the House is in session, many of the proposed bills come from the work done by the summer study committees. I’m honored to be a part of this process, and I look forward to serving on these committees, working to make our state stronger. I hope you can join me and become involved in this process.

As always, if you have any concerns or would like to know more information about my work during the summer months, please do not hesitate to contact me.

-30-

Representative Kathy Kreag Richardson (R-Noblesville)
Contact Information:
Name: Ben Gavelek
Phone: 317-232-9831
Email: ben.gavelek@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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