Capitol Connection: State Rep. Torr tackles redistricting
Redistricting bill passes House
House Bill 1032, authored by State Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel), passed out of the House last week with a 77 to 20 vote. HB 1032 would change the current redistricting procedures.
“I’m very pleased that HB 1032 passed out of the House,” Torr said. “This bill is designed to keep politics out of the redistricting process, and I think it is well past time to make this change for Indiana.”
HB 1032 would establish a redistricting commission to create, hold hearings on, take public comment about and recommend plans to redraw General Assembly districts and congressional districts following the national census every ten years.
The proposed commission would have four members, each appointed by the leaders of their respective legislative caucus. The four commission members would then appoint a fifth member to chair the commission, but in the case that there is a deadlock and a fifth member cannot be agreed upon, the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court would make the appointment.
Commission members would be required, during a redistricting year, to hold one public hearing in each U.S. Congressional district in Indiana, plus an additional meeting in Marion County. Public notice would be required 10 days prior to each meeting.
The bill will now be heard in the Senate.
To track this bill’s progress, visit https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2014/bills/house/1032.
Sen. Merritt’s Lifeline Law Expansion passes committee
State Sen. Jim Merritt’s (R-Indianapolis) proposal to expand Indiana’s Lifeline Law and help save more lives unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Judiciary. Senate Bill 227 would provide legal protections to minors under the influence of alcohol who call for help in any type of emergency, instead of only those related to alcohol consumption.
SB 227 is an expansion of Indiana’s 2012 Lifeline Law, which is designed to encourage young Hoosiers to seek medical care in alcohol-related emergencies. Two dozen Hoosiers under the age of 21 have died from alcohol poisoning in the last ten years. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than one in five high school students has reported binge drinking.
Students from Indiana University and Purdue University, Norm and Dawn Finbloom – parents of a Carmel High School student who died of alcohol poisoning – and Michele Whelchel and David Westenberger of Indiana Youth Services Association were present to offer their support.
SB 227 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.
Coats discusses legislative roadmap
Last week U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) launched The Indiana Way, a 10-point legislative agenda for 2014 based on the model of Indiana and ideas from Hoosiers, with stops across the state of Indiana. Coats visited Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Valparaiso, Lafayette, Terre Haute, Evansville and New Albany to discuss his plan.
“I believe some of the best ideas to grow our economy and strengthen our communities come from Hoosiers, not Washington bureaucrats,” Coats said. ” I unveiled ‘The Indiana Way,’ a plan based on the input I’ve gathered from Hoosiers on commonsense solutions to address a number of challenges facing Indiana families and businesses. The Indiana Way is needed in Washington to put our country back on a path to growth and opportunity.”
The priorities in Coats’ roadmap for 2014 include:
● Protecting Hoosiers from the burdens of Obamacare.
● Unlocking affordable energy.
● Growing manufacturing jobs.
● Financing infrastructure.
● Saving family farms.
● Supporting community banks and small businesses.
● Eliminating waste and fraud in health and retirement security programs.
● Making the tax system simpler and fairer.
● Supporting community and faith-based groups.
● Protecting our homeland and promoting Indiana’s defense assets.
More information about the plan is available at www.coats.senate.gov/theindianaway.