The Indiana General Assembly is now in session. I recently joined several of my colleagues in the Senate Republican Caucus to announce our priorities for the 2017 session, which will last through the end of April.
The priorities we are advancing this year ensure Indiana maintains a balanced budget, funds improvements to our road infrastructure, supports our students and teachers, revamps our workforce development efforts, and attacks the opioid epidemic in our state.
Here is a more detailed list of the priorities supported by Senate Republicans this year:
-Pass another balanced two-year state budget – Our work on the state’s next budget will focus on funding Indiana’s priorities, including education, roads and public safety, while maintaining our record of fiscal responsibility.
-Create a long-term road funding plan – Experts estimate that Indiana faces a $1 billion annual road funding shortfall over the next 20 years. To support our growing economy, lawmakers must find new funding sources to pay for these long-term infrastructure needs.
-Pass a balanced budget amendment – By passing a balanced budget amendment in the General Assembly again this year, lawmakers would give Hoosiers the chance to approve an amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would prohibit state spending from exceeding state revenue unless two-thirds of the General Assembly deems it necessary to use emergency spending measures.
-Fight opioid abuse – Senate Republicans will consider a package of legislation to attack the opioid-abuse epidemic through a comprehensive approach that includes prevention, enforcement, treatment and data collection.
-Replace the outdated ISTEP exam – Our schools need a shorter, more effective test to measure student growth and achievement than the problem-plagued ISTEP exam. Building on the recommendations from an in-depth study of replacement options, we will support efforts to implement an improved test for Hoosier students.
-Improve Indiana’s workforce development efforts – To support the needs of both students and employers, we will work to reform Indiana’s overall workforce development efforts. This includes ensuring the school funding formula for high school career and technical education courses supports schools in preparing students for the 21st century economy.
-Fix Indiana’s e-liquids law – We will support legislation that reforms the regulations for e-liquids manufacturers to ensure a fair and level playing field, while maintaining strong consumer protections.
With these priorities in mind, we are looking forward to a productive and impactful session.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas concerning these and other topics. I would like to thank those in Senate District 16 who have already completed my 2017 legislative survey. I truly value your input, as it helps me shape my approach to the issues discussed during session.
If you haven’t had a chance to complete the survey, there’s still time to complete the online version by visiting www.IndianaSenateRepublicans.com/Long. There are a number of issues we will soon be voting on, so please return your survey responses no later than Jan. 31.
As always, if you have questions or concerns about these or other issues, you can contact my office at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.
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