State chamber ranks local legislators

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Indiana Chamber of Commerce said they were pleased with state lawmakers, including those from Hamilton County, after the General Assembly session concluded in the spring.

The Indiana Chamber released its annual Legislative Vote Analysis that scores state legislators on how they voted on important business legislation during the session. All but one local legislator representing Hamilton County fared well this year.

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Goodrich

State Rep. Chuck Goodrich, R-Noblesville, received a grade of 86 percent this year, up from 81 percent a year ago. State Sen. Scott Baldwin, R-Noblesville, received a grade of 92 percent, a boost from the 85 percent he received last year.

State Rep. Donna Schaibley, a Republican who represents northeastern Boone County and western Hamilton County, received a grade of 85 percent this year, up from the 77 percent she received in 2022. A Democratic freshman lawmaker from Fishers, Victoria Garcia Wilburn, received a grade of 59 percent, according to the Legislative Vote Analysis report.

Scott Baldwin
Baldwin

“The Legislative Vote Analysis serves as an essential guide in keeping track of Hoosier legislators to ensure they are putting forth measures that will continue the positive economic trajectory of our state and keep us atop business rankings in the Midwest and beyond,” Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar stated. “It was a welcome sight to see support for small business tax relief and workforce development initiatives. However, this was the third rather challenging session in a row with a variety of new, business-hostile legislation introduced with a continued influence of the populist, anti-establishment factions in the Legislature.”

The chamber said the success or failure of 37 key pro-economy, pro-jobs policies – introduced in bills or amendments – was used to determine lawmakers’ scores. Among the bills included House Bill 1002 led by Goodrich, who previously said that the bill was intended to increase high school relevancy by expanding work-based learning opportunities.

Donna Schaibley
Schaibley

The bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb, also creates career scholarship accounts for students that can be used to pay for career training, apprenticeships, certifications and internships.
Goodrich was among those who voted against another bill opposed by the chamber, SB 7, that bans non-compete agreements for primary care doctors and employers. However, Baldwin, Garcia Wilburn and Schaibley were among the lawmakers who voted in support of the legislation.

Garcia Wilburn, however, voted against nine of the House bills that were supported by the chamber, according to the report. She supported all but two Senate bills backed by the chamber, the report says.

Bills included for examination in the Legislative Vote Analysis are tied to the Indiana Chamber’s economic development initiative known as Indiana Vision 2025, officials said. That plan contains 37 goals in the four driver areas of outstanding talent, attractive business climate, superior infrastructure, and dynamic and creative culture, officials said.

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Wilburn

Legislation included in the report includes the state budget; tax relief for pass-through entities; state pension investments and environmental social governance matters; auto-enrollment in the 21st Century Scholars program; and mandatory completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for high school students.

“On a positive note, several measures with broad support in areas such as tax relief and workforce development seemed to raise the scores overall, particularly improving those among legislators with otherwise so-so support for chamber issues,” Brinegar said.

For more, visit indianachamber.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/LegVoteAnalysis2023.pdf.

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