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Indiana State Library

Library > Collections > Indiana Collection > Indiana State Documents > State Agency Spotlight State Agency Spotlight

Indiana State Fair
Indiana Department of Local Government Finance
Indiana Commission for Women
State Agency Spotlight:  Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males
State Agency Spotlight: Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor

Indiana State Fair

In celebration of the Indiana State Fair, this month’s spotlight will be highlighting the Indiana State Fair. Though technically not a state agency, the Indiana State Fair and State Fair Commission have a history of creating an atmosphere of fun for the state with agriculture, music, and deep-fried foods every August. In 1851, the Indiana General Assembly passed an act “to encourage agriculture,” which included the formation of the State Board of Agriculture. The primary goal of the Board was to create the first Indiana State Fair.  In 1852, Indiana became the sixth state to start having a State Agricultural fair.  The first fair was held in what is now known as Military Park in downtown Indianapolis.  For the majority of years, the State Fair has been in Indianapolis, however, other Indiana cities hosted the State Fair in the mid-1800s: Lafayette in 1853, Madison in 1854, New Albany in 1859, Fort Wayne in 1865, and Terre Haute in 1867. The State Fair held competitions as early as 1852; the awards for that year included plans for a farmhouse, to current day.   

The Department of Local Government Finance

The Department of Local Government Finance is responsible for ensuring property tax assessment and local government budgeting are carried out in accordance with Indiana law. The Department is charged with publishing property tax assessment rules and annually reviewing and approving the tax rates and levies of every political subdivision in the state, including all counties, cities, towns, townships, school corporations, libraries, and other entities with tax levy authority.

The Department is primarily led by the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.

The Assessment Division provides guidance, technical instruction, and support to taxpayers and local officials across the state. The assessment division promotes consistent assessing procedures throughout the state by providing guidance, technical instruction, and securing compliance with the applicable laws to ensure the fair and equitable assessment of real and personal property for taxpayers and local officials. The division is responsible for the statewide assessment of public utilities; personal property auditing; assisting in equalization studies; developing manuals, rules, and guidelines for use by local officials; and providing training to assessing officials and administering an assessment certification program. The division maintains field representatives throughout the state to better serve local units of government.

The Budget Division works closely with local officials in preparing their annual budgets and to monitor and enforce statutory compliance with Indiana law. The division's staff provides recommendations to the Commissioner on matters related to budgets, rates, levies, exceptions to property tax controls and taxpayer exceptions to tax rate increases. Throughout the year division staff is involved in training and participate in budget hearings and appeals throughout the state. The division maintains field offices throughout the state to better serve local units of government.

The Data Analysis Division conducts on-going research and analysis in all areas of property taxation to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of the property tax burden in Indiana. The division also reviews and audits the parcel-level property tax data files submitted to the Department by county auditors and assessors.

The Department's legal staff draft and publish property tax assessment rules and interpret statutory law to ensure property tax assessments and local government budgeting are carried out in accordance with Indiana law and Department rules and regulations.  

The DLGF’s latest initiative, The Gateway, is an interactive site which enables Indiana citizens to see how their tax dollars are being spent. The site also contains reports for counties, townships, and cities/towns, and other financial information. If you’re interested in finding out your specific taxing entity, that’s also available just by typing in your address.

Indiana Commission for Women

President Kennedy established the first Commission on the Status of Women by Executive Order 10980 in December, 1961, naming Eleanor Roosevelt as chair and Esther Peterson as co-chair.  In 1963, the President’s Commission on the Status Women issued a report that documented discrimination against women in virtually every area of American life. One of the recommendations in the report was that each state form a similar commission to research conditions and recommend changes.
Governor Otis R. Bowen established the precursor to the current Indiana Commission for Women in 1972.  The Commission on the Status of Women in Indiana was a non-profit state government organization established by Governor Otis R. Bowen.  Its purpose was to make sure that women would have full opportunity to serve as equal citizens of Indiana.  The Commission sought to further equal opportunities for women, eliminate sex discrimination, provide council, and encourage women to assume more initiative.  The Commission was funded directly from the Governor’s office until 1977 at which time the legislature declined funding the Commission.

In July 14, 1992, the Indiana Commission for Women was established under Governor Evan Bayh by Executive Order 92-15.  The Commission was formed to examine and address the difficulties and impediments that prevent the full participation of Indiana women in politics, business, education, the judicial system and all other aspects of state life.  The Commission was established under the umbrella of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.

In 1996 Senate Enrolled Act 500, sponsored by Senator Becky Skillman and Senator Vi Simpson, authorized the ICW statutorily and provided state funding.  In 1996, the Indiana General Assembly made a firm commitment to improving the lives of Indiana women through the creation of the Indiana Commission for Women (ICW) with Senate Enrolled Act 500.  The ICW's mission is “to elevate the status of all Indiana women by addressing their concerns and promoting equality and justice through information, advocacy, support and referral.”

Today, the Indiana Commission for Women is committed to the full participation of women in all aspects of society in order to make Indiana a better place to live, work and raise a family.  Its mission is to understand the needs of Indiana women and their families, and to work strategically both within government and in our communities to help bring about positive solutions.  ICW works to remove barriers that hinder women’s participation by:
• Increasing awareness of the status of women and their families and the issues they face
• Recognizing and promoting the contributions that Hoosier women make to their community, state and nation
• Providing balanced analysis of public policy issues that impact women in Indiana.

It is ICW’ s hope that we can keep moving Indiana women forward by encouraging them to become more educated, better connected to their communities, better aware of the opportunities and resources available to them, and more engaged in resolving the challenges facing them.  ICW exists to voice the needs, concerns, challenges and viewpoints of women in order to ensure that women play a representative role in resolving the challenges they face.

In recent years, ICW has focused its educational efforts on women’s economic security needs. In 2008, it sponsored a summit on Bridging the Gap: Reaching Pay Equity in Indiana, at which participants examined key components of the pay equity debate and provided recommendations in five key areas, including poverty, diversity, and intergenerational issues. Since 2008, ICW has presented Working Women in Transition, a program designed to give women the forum to learn about resources, options and trends affecting them in the workforce as well as specific issues of older women in the workforce and women in green or non-traditional jobs. During this year’s seminar, women received training on key skills such as networking and wage negotiation that will assist them in becoming a productive part of the workforce.

Beginning in February 2011, the Commission engaged in an initiative to identify key issues facing women and learn what is needed to build capacity for progress in the hopes of establishing a plan of action that can be shared by individuals, community organizations and public agencies throughout Indiana. The first phase of this initiative, called Hoosier INsight, has been a series of regional listening sessions and online survey designed to facilitate conversations with Hoosiers across the state to categorize critical issues affecting women regionally and statewide. The dialogue is helping the Commission to create an environment for honest and positive public deliberation on women’s issues, prioritize challenges, and develop key partnerships with stakeholders to establish a coordinated effort to move Indiana women forward.

The issues that came out of these listening sessions were narrowed to the top five issues, which were: health-related issues, work-based issues, care giving, leadership and violence against women.

Women conveyed a desire to be part of the solution! They demonstrated the ability to work together to find common ground on issues important to them and offered innovative ideas and clear solutions on what is needed to move Indiana women forward.  More importantly, there was a sense that women felt a need to be heard in the debate on women’s issues but currently were not.  Many participants and respondents recognized that women had a responsibility to be engaged in the process; however, they needed the tools, resources and information to make informed decisions and be effective in advocating for their own needs.

Other underlying themes were viewed as fundamental components of any issue and, going forward, will be considered as this process proceeds. Agencies, organizations and individuals committed to women’s issues need to create a movement that empowers all women to make the change happen. Participants and respondents called for a cooperative, coordinated and collaborative effort to address any issue. Organizations supporting women must be networking and communicating with each other so that they can find common ground and support women more effectively and efficiently.  Participants and respondents remarked that there was a need for resources because there was a lack of information women receive and a general lack of knowledge about where to find information or resources. Creating a centralized and comprehensive mechanism to give women access to all types of information, resources and referrals became a general suggestion for action in all discussions.  Finally, there was a general sense that these issues were not necessarily women’s issues.  Instead, they were community and family issues; therefore, participants felt that men must be engaged in the conversation.

The Commission has been working on several research projects.  Women in the Indiana General Assembly, which was published in 2008 and 2010, reviewed the number and political distribution of women legislators in the General Assembly. Two reports, Women Business Owners in Indiana and Women Business Owners in the Great Lakes Region were published in December 2010 as a collaborative effort with women’s commissions in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  Ranking Indiana among the Great lakes states and the nation, this fact sheet uses data compiled and released from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners released in July 2010. 

For more information, please call the Indiana Commission for Women at (317) 233-6303 or icw@dwd.in.gov

State Agency Spotlight: Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males

This month’s State Agency Spotlight pays homage to all fathers - those who are biological and those who act as father figures. The Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males was established in 1993 by Indiana law: P.L. 143-1993 Sec. 1. IC 12-13-12-2.

The mission of the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males is to study the social conditions of the state's African American male population; to develop strategies to remedy or assist in remedying serious adversities; and to make recommendations to for improvements in the areas of criminal justice, education, employment, health, and social factors. The Commission serves policymakers and public interest groups as well as the media, community organizations, and members of the general public. It has been in partnership with elected officials, community leaders, policy makers and the faith based community to serve African American males and assist in resolve issues in the five focus areas. The Commission is proud of the fact that there are nine local Commissions addressing concerns of African American males across the state in the cities of Anderson, Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville, Michigan City, and Muncie.

One of the latest programs of the Commission is the Indiana Dads Expo. The Commission’s role in the 2012 Indiana Dads Expo is as a sponsor and statewide outreach to African American males to the expo event. Through the Commission’s distribution list, contacts, and local commissions, African American males will be informed about the Dads Expo and encouraged to attend. The Expo will be held on Saturday, June 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Martin University.

State Agency Spotlight:  Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is one of the oldest state agencies of its type in the United States. Created in 1933 by the Indiana General Assembly, the agency was initially the Office of Public Counselor.

In 1981 the General Assembly replaced the Public Counselor's Office with the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor. Appointed by the Governor, the Consumer Counselor serves a four-year term. Since the appointment of Sherman Minton of New Albany in 1933, there have been a total of 23 Utility Consumer Counselors from towns and cities throughout the state. David Stippler became Indiana’s current Utility Consumer Counselor in March 2008. Having specialized in public utility law throughout most of his career, Mr. Stippler has 39 years of experience as a practicing Indiana attorney. He oversees a dedicated 50-member staff, including attorneys, analysts, engineers and additional employees who represent Indiana’s residential, commercial and industrial ratepayers in state and federal utility regulatory proceedings.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is the state agency representing utility ratepayer interests (including residential and business consumer interests) in cases before state and federal regulatory commissions.  The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents the interests of residential, commercial, and industrial utility customers in cases before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Indiana Court of Appeals & Indiana Supreme Court.

In addition to its regulatory duties, the OUCC also helps Indiana citizens save money on utility costs with their tips and resources on the website. 

www.IN.gov/OUCC offers a wealth of information that will help you learn more about utility services. The OUCC is the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before state and federal utility regulatory commissions.

Last year, the OUCC’s efforts helped save Hoosier utility ratepayers more than $162 million. On the Website, you can learn more about the agency’s work on behalf of consumers and keep track of cases that directly affect you.

The OUCC is also on Twitter. Follow @IndianaOUCC for case updates, energy saving tips, and much more!