The Indiana General Assembly will convene for the ceremonial start of the 2017 legislative session on Tuesday, November 22 at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.
“Organization Day,” as it is commonly referred to, gives new and returning legislators an opportunity to meet with fellow lawmakers and staff to discuss upcoming topics and prepare for the months ahead. It is also the day new and re-elected Senators and Representatives will be sworn into office.
The General Assembly alternates between “short” and “long” legislative sessions. The upcoming 2017 session will begin January 3 and, by law, must end no later than April 29, making it a “long” session.
Long sessions accommodate the larger workload that goes into crafting the state’s next two-year budget. Over the last decade, Indiana has established itself as a national leader in responsible fiscal management. Our next state budget will continue building on this record by prioritizing our most urgent needs, while living within our means.
Other important topics lawmakers will be addressing include:
Supporting our Schools – Lawmakers understand the critical role our local schools play in the success of our state. We devote more than half of every General Fund tax dollar to K-12 schools. In the next session, we will be working on proposals to replace the statewide ISTEP exam with a new test, increase state support for teacher salaries, support vocational education opportunities and help ensure parents have the ability to send their kids to the school that best meets their needs.
Funding our Roads – Following a summer-long comprehensive study of this issue, lawmakers will be working together to craft a long-term road funding plan that ensures we maintain our reputation as the Crossroads of America.
Protecting Hoosier Children – Legislators will consider a variety of proposals in 2017 to promote the safety of Hoosier children. These include expanded background checks for those who work closely with kids, strengthening reporting requirements for cases of child abuse, and providing appropriate resources for the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Fighting Drug Abuse – Like most states, illegal drug abuse continues to present a serious challenge to areas across Indiana. Lawmakers will continue to fight this scourge on our communities by looking for ways to stop the dealers who feed the problem and get help for those caught in addiction.
Hoosiers can stay informed on proposed legislation by visiting www.in.gov/iga.
The website includes legislative calendars, meeting agendas, vote tallies and the text of all bills being debated by the Indiana General Assembly.
Another way to stay informed is by subscribing to my electronic newsletters. Please visit www.in.gov/s16 to sign up for my weekly updates that provide information about the General Assembly, important events and other state government news.
I am looking forward to a productive session that moves Indiana forward and continues to build on our successful track record.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas concerning these and other topics. My office can be reached at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov
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