Each year during the legislative session, members of the Indiana General Assembly conduct committee hearings, participate in debates and take part in discussions with constituents as we consider new laws that will address important issues facing Indiana.
However, throughout the session, lawmakers may determine that more information is needed before taking action on some issues. When this is the case, legislators can request that the Legislative Council assign the topic to an interim study committee for further review.
As Pro Tem of the Senate, I’m serving as the vice chair of the bipartisan Legislative Council, which is comprised of 16 members from the General Assembly – eight from the Senate and eight from the House of Representatives. We recently assigned a wide range of issues to be studied this summer and fall.
One of the most critical topics will be the assessment of the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS). Because this agency has been consistently plagued with a number of challenges, this year Gov. Holcomb sought the help of the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG), the premier consulting group for agencies like our DCS. The CWG has been conducting a thorough audit of the agency through a variety of methods, including interviews with staff, community members and stakeholders, to determine the specific challenges facing DCS and what resources would help get the agency running effectively.
Once the assessment has been completed this summer, the CWG will present their findings to the Legislative Council so lawmakers will know what action may be required of us. Protecting at-risk Hoosier children is a top priority, and we need this information in order to take measured, informed and meaningful steps toward reform for this critical agency.
Aside from the assessment of the DCS, legislators will also be reviewing the effectiveness of Indiana’s workforce training programs to make sure Hoosiers receive training that results in employment, looking for ways to further update our alcohol laws, creating sexual harassment prevention policies for legislators, and studying how sports betting could be implemented in Indiana, among many other topics.
Study committees are a critical part of the legislative process, and I look forward to a productive summer and fall as we explore the best way to address issues facing the Hoosier state.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this or other topics, contact my office by phone at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.
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