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[r23] Friend Report: Never losing sight of the farm
Start Date: 2/11/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/11/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Friend Report: Never losing sight of the farm 

This past week, the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association held their annual convention.  This group is significant because of the benefit they bring to the state’s economy.  The lumber business in Indiana provides many jobs for our citizens as their product is further processed to make fine furniture and countless other goods.  

Most people don’t think of the timber business as agriculture, but it is.  Harvesting mature trees in Indiana is a great business that adds millions of dollars to our economy.  Jobs, product and value-added product are all a result of the hardwood lumber business.  

In our area, Cole Hardwood and Pike Lumber are exemplary companies that continue to add much to our state’s economy.  I try very hard to listen to these companies and understand their issues.  They are very important to our area.

The Indiana Pork Producers had their annual meeting last week.  Pork producers gathered in Indianapolis to promote their industry.  Why is it important for the pork industry to showcase what they do?  Statistics show that only about two percent of the population is involved in farming, so the remaining 98 percent must be continually updated on modern agricultural practices.  Of that two percent, only a portion raises hogs in their farming operation.

There are groups that misrepresent modern agriculture, and the facts must be told by actual participants in the industry.  So, introducing the legislators to pork producers over a variety of tasty pork dishes makes for a great environment to explain what the industry really does.

Shifting focus to the Statehouse, House Bill 1175, which I authored, would allow any state or local public agency to charge a fee for large, copious and time-consuming public records requests.  For a search of over two hours, the charge could be the lesser of $20 an hour or the hourly rate being paid to the employee doing the work.  

Why is this necessary?  

Many offices across the state have “frequent flyers.”  That term applies to people or organizations that frequently present themselves and request large quantities of records.  Sometimes the records exist in courthouse or city hall attics and require hours to produce.  This bill is not intended to punish the public but to allow an agency to be compensated for a time-consuming request.  Computer run time is not billable, only employee time is billable.  Two organizations that are responsible for many large requests are the two major political parties.  I worked closely with the Hoosier Press Association on this bill.

Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) placed Senate Bill 319 on a fast track to allow it to be passed and sent to Governor Pence for his signature.  This bill addresses the assessment of farmland for property tax purposes.  The Department of Local Government Finance had produced a list of changes last year that equals an immediate 20 percent increase in property taxes on farmland.  Taxes on farmland the last few years have increased dramatically as the newly enacted controls have held other classes of property static or reduced.  The actual text of the bill deals with the soil productivity factor but refers to the value of the land.  By fast tracking the bill, local assessors can implement the new statute before spring documents are mailed out to property owners.

There has been a lot of feedback recently from constituents communicating their support or opposition to different bills. Please stay in touch; it’s your state government.

More later,

Bill Friend

-30-

State Rep. Bill Friend (R-Macy)
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@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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  • Business & Agriculture
  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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