When Indiana's part-time legislature is not in session, lawmakers serve on interim study committees that meet to review key issues facing our state. These committees lay the groundwork for future legislation and are a critical component of Indiana's lawmaking process.
The Legislative Council, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives, establishes study committee priorities each year. As vice-chair of the council, my goal is to make sure our state's most pressing challenges are given the time and energy needed to find effective solutions.
This summer and fall, study committees will consider several important topics, including tax reform, education, veterans' issues and more. These committees will gather expert testimony, hear from members of the public and provide recommendations to the full General Assembly before the 2015 legislative session begins in January.
As Indiana works to create the best environment for entrepreneurship and job growth, supporting common-sense tax reform is a top priority. During the most recent legislative session, the General Assembly phased down Indiana's corporate income tax and gave local governments new options to cut the business personal property tax.
This summer, the Commission on Business Personal Property and Business Taxation will evaluate the impact of state and local business taxes on our economic climate and make recommendations to further streamline Indiana's tax system. The commission will also hear from local government entities about how they are affected by Indiana's state tax policies.
Another topic up for study is preschool education. Legislation passed in 2014 created a preschool pilot program in five counties to help low-income families send their children to preschool.
Lawmakers on the Interim Committee on Education will consider ways to measure the effectiveness of Indiana's pre-k pilot program to help determine whether or not it should be expanded statewide.
Another key topic to be considered is improving Indiana's veteran-benefit services. The Interim Study Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs will discuss ways our state can support more veterans and their families in areas like employment, education and medical care.
As these study committees begin to hold hearings, I encourage you to stay involved and share your thoughts. Visit www.iga.in.gov and click on "Interim Committees" to view agendas and stream hearings online.