When the Indiana General Assembly is not in session, my colleagues and I spend most of our time living and working in our local communities. This allows us to stay close to our neighbors and constituents, and better understand the various issues Hoosiers deal with every day.
However, we also spend time during the summer and fall months serving on interim study committees. These committees, made up of members of the General Assembly as well as lay members, allow policy makers to examine issues more closely before deciding whether to take legislative action in the upcoming session.
Indiana’s bipartisan Legislative Council, which is made up of eight state senators and eight state representatives, chooses the topics that are assigned to interim study committees. Often times, these are issues from the previous legislative session that weren’t able to be resolved without gathering further public input or allowing for additional discussion.
The Legislative Council recently announced the issues that will be assigned to this year’s study committees. Some of the more high-profile topics include:
·A comprehensive study of Indiana’s alcohol regulation laws to determine what reforms should be recommended to the legislature.
·An ongoing review and evaluation of all Indiana tax incentives to ensure the policy goals behind those incentives are being achieved.
·An examination of the impact of Indiana’s comprehensive criminal code reform passed in 2014.
·A study of Indiana’s efforts to protect public water supplies, including the resources available to water system operators to create emergency plans for when there are threats to public drinking water.
·An examination of ways to allow greater flexibility for local schools based on recent changes made in federal law.
·A look at how changes to Indiana’s election laws have affected voter participation in recent years.
·A study of Indiana’s health care provider shortage and ways to improve access to care.
·A study of rural broadband access in Indiana, including federal funding sources available, and broadband adoption and deployment.
Each of these topics are important to our state and members of the legislature, and examining them allows us to better prepare for next year’s legislative session.
As always, I welcome your input on these topics or others. My office can be reached at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.
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