A look at interim study committees

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Indiana’s legislative session may have ended in March, but my colleagues and I have continued our work throughout the interim in “summer study committees.”

Interim study committees take an in-depth look at a variety of legislative issues in preparation for the upcoming general assembly. They include members of the house and senate along with experts in areas pertinent to the issues being discussed. The committees review issues, study applicable legislation and analyze the effect of enacted legislation.

Only one topic is addressed at a time, allowing legislators to focus on one key issue and form recommendations for submission to the general assembly. The issues studied during the interim are decide by the legislative council, which I serve on, and contains leaders from both the house and senate. This year there are 14 committees that have been tasked with a variety of topics.

Most issues are sent to a committee because the issue is too complex to solve in the limited session time. The interim study committees give us the time to work through these issues, hear testimony for and against and then recommend appropriate legislation.

I serve on the Commission on Courts, which reviews counties’ requests for new judicial officers and other court system procedures. I also chair the Census Data Committee. It is responsible for guiding the census process, looking at the reapportionment of house and senate districts and other election-related topics. For example, we will be looking at an issue that was discussed during the session in regards to the security of mail-in absentee ballots.

Interim study committees are an essential function of the legislative process. The legislators, advisors and members of the community work to form solid groundwork for the proposed legislation that will be introduced in the 2013 session.

To see a complete list of the assigned committees, member appointments and what the committees are charged with studying, visit in.gov/legislative/house_republicans.


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