Local State Lawmakers Plan for Upcoming Session
November 28, 2013 — Even though state legislators are enjoying the holiday at home instead of the office, the Indiana General Assembly is expecting a busy legislative season. The state’s second 118th legislative session is short, but the list of goals to accomplish is long.
“It is going to be a tough job, because it’s a short time,” says Hammond Democrat state Senator Frank Mrvan. “I don’t particularly care for the short session because with the people in the majority there is so little time so they concentrate on their goals, and their goals may not be our goals.”
House and Senate members gathered at the Statehouse on Organization Day on November 19, and because legislators must adjourn by mid-March, lawmakers say every minute matters.
State Senator Earline Rogers of Gary serves as Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Education Committee. She says reform could come for the state’s youngest students, “Senate Democrats are trying to make sure we get started on pre-school education. Early childhood education is extremely important, and there was going to be a pilot program on early childhood education last session, but along the way it got eliminated from the budget. So, what we’re going to try to do is to at least resurrect that.”
Senator Mrvan confirms that this legislative session is short, but there is still a lot to consider to improve the economic viability of Northwest Indiana, “Of course, the railroad, the South Shore, they want to extend it. That’s going to be difficult because it’s super expensive.”
“We will be working down here very closely with our local elected officials in terms of maybe putting together some legislation down here that will enable them to maybe seek dollars,” says Senator Rogers, “because, I think all of us realize the opportunities that would be there with the extension of the South Shore rail line.”
Local lawmakers are hopeful elected officials on both sides of the aisle will use teamwork to get bills passed. Members of the House and Senate are set to reconvene in Indianapolis on January 6, 2014.
By Hilary Powell