2018 Legislative Directory Now Available

2018 Legislative Directory

The new Indiana Chamber Legislative Directory is here!

The 2018 Indiana General Assembly Legislative Directory comes in handbook form, as well as a mobile app. Both versions of the directory contain contact information for all 150 state legislators, including committee assignments, photos, biographies and more.

Other features include full-color photos and district maps for each legislator; legislator biographies, photos, contact information and office locations; committee assignments and leadership lists; updated seating charts; and a cross index by county and district number.

In addition, the mobile app includes automatic updates, the ability to “favorite” legislators and committees for quick reference and interaction. You can also download legislators into your mobile phone contacts list. The app is also available for both Apple and Android devices.

Individual handbooks are $9.99 and mobile app access codes are $8.99 each. To order the app version, visit the directory web page (purchase through our site and you’ll be given an access code to purchase the app through your preferred app store). Bulk pricing is also available.

The 2018 Indiana General Assembly Legislative Directory is brought to you by: The Corydon Group; CountryMark; Duke Energy; and Indiana State University.

Short Session Starts With a Flurry of Activity

The Governor and General Assembly have continually heard from Hoosier employers on the need for a skilled workforce – and better aligning state programs with job demand. The good news is bills are being introduced to address those concerns. While only a handful of measures have been released to date, we are seeing legislation related to training tax credits and grants, as well as efforts to streamline current workforce programs. We anticipate a comprehensive workforce bill (1002) will be introduced in the House later next week.

The Governor’s computer science bill (SB 172) requires all public schools to offer a one-semester elective computer science course at least once each school year to high school students. We expect a hearing on this measure in the next two weeks. Both this and the workforce efforts are 2018 Indiana Chamber legislative priorities.

Senate Bill 257 has been introduced by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) to serve as the beginning of discussions on clarifying the exempt status of computer software sold as a service (SaaS) – a Chamber priority. Holdman is also authoring another major piece of tax legislation, SB 242, which contains a variety of tax matters. The House bills are coming in too, with a good number already filed addressing local tax issues.

Speaking of local matters, the Chamber is very pleased to see that the House Republican agenda includes a bill that will make township government more effective and efficient by the merging of townships (approximately 300) where less than 1,200 people reside. Such local government reform has been a longstanding Chamber goal.

In addition to SB 257, other technology-related bills include Rep. Ed Soliday’s (R-Valparaiso) autonomous vehicle (AV) proposal to position Indiana to safely test and implement AV technology with automobiles. The bill also will address truck platooning, which uses GPS and WiFi technology to allow trucks to more closely follow each other for greater efficiency, on Indiana roads.

Rural broadband, high-speed internet and small cell wireless structures technology all will be topics for the Legislature to debate. Certified technology parks also will be discussed with the idea to have an additional capture of sales and income tax revenue for those complexes that perform well.

In health care, enabling employers to ask prospective employees if they are smokers not only heads the Chamber’s wish list but also appears to be gaining traction this go-round. Eliminating the special protections (currently in state statute) for smokers is found in SB 23 and will be guided by Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne). The bill has a pretty good chance of getting a hearing in the Senate – which would be a first. Previously, a measure was taken up in a joint hearing in the House.

Increasing the tobacco tax and raising the legal age for smokers to 21 are policies that likely will be included in a bill to be introduced by Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary). The Indiana Chamber is supportive of both.

Nine utility-related bills are on our radar screen at this point. They range from tweaks of last year’s big legislation (like SB 309, which addressed rising energy costs and a long-standing struggle between the investor-owned electric utilities and larger consumers of energy) to compulsory sewer connection, excavation for infrastructure, regulation of solar energy systems in homeowners’ associations and new water legislation. Separately, Sen. David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) has a proposed ban on coal tar pavement sealer, which we oppose.

There are also a number of bills proposing changes to Indiana’s alcohol laws including: Sunday sales, cold beer sales by grocery and convenience stores, and increases in fees and penalties.

The Chamber will be providing more details on all of these bills as the session progresses.

For anyone who wants a refresher about how legislation becomes law, the Chamber has a handy guide free of charge. It includes a diagram of the bill process, a glossary of often-used terms and a look at where bills commonly get tripped up.

Additionally, the Chamber will be providing updates and issuing pertinent documents throughout the session at www.indianachamber.com/legislative.

Chamber Releases Vote Scores for Legislators

leg analysisThe Indiana Chamber handed out scores today to legislators for their performance during the 2016 General Assembly. The numbers, released in the organization’s annual Legislative Vote Analysis, are based on voting records on pro-jobs, pro-economy legislation. The 2016 scores ranged from 36% to 100%. 

The purpose of the Legislative Vote Analysis is to keep Hoosiers informed about what’s going on at the Indiana Statehouse and how their legislators are voting on issues vital to the state’s economic future and their own. This report makes it clear which legislators support pro-economy, pro-jobs bills and which legislators do not.

Base scores for each legislator are calculated as a percentage of votes cast in agreement with the Indiana Chamber’s position on the bills included in the Legislative Vote Analysis. Select pro-economy, pro-jobs legislation has been double-weighted to reflect its importance.

As was the case in 2015, a modest adjustment factor (positive or negative) was added to the Legislative Vote Analysis scoring model to factor in very important legislative activities outside of floor votes. These include whether a legislator sponsored/authored these important bills and whether committee chairs held hearings or killed these bills.

In addition to receiving their score, 13 legislators earned a star designation for overall leadership or their significant efforts on issues deemed of critical importance.

“These individuals went the extra mile to move our state forward in some tangible way. Some championed public policy that, while needed, was a tough sell, and others worked their caucus to get vital legislation passed,” offers Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

The majority of the bills included for examination can be traced back to the Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 economic development plan, released in 2012.

Legislators who score 70% or greater for the most recent four-year voting period are eligible for endorsement by the Indiana Chamber’s political action committee, Indiana Business for Responsive Government.

Lawmakers are notified of the Indiana Chamber position and reasoning on the bills in this report through various communications during the legislative session – and prior to key votes being taken. Only floor votes for which there is a public record are used in the Legislative Vote Analysis.

Copies of the Legislative Vote Analysis report are sent to all legislators and Indiana Chamber board members, and made available online for all businesspersons, community leaders and citizens.

This marks the 32nd year the Indiana Chamber has measured state legislators’ voting performance on bills that reflect the organization’s public policy positions.

All scores and the full report are available at the Indiana Chamber’s web site at www.indianachamber.com/lva.

Chamber Report Ranks State Legislators on Economy, Jobs Issues

Did your legislators support implementing a statewide smoking ban? What about making Indiana a right-to-work state and eliminating the state’s inheritance tax? Find out in the Legislative Vote Analysis report released today by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce; the publication details the pro-economy, pro-jobs voting records for state lawmakers during the 2012 session.

All scores and the full report are available at the Indiana Chamber’s web site at www.indianachamber.com/lva.

"The thing that really stands out is how much the vote scores have gone up in recent years – Democrats and Republicans alike. In fact, this year a total of 15 legislators scored 100%. Overall what this shows is the support for prosperity issues continues to grow, and that reflects where Hoosiers are," states Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

"We want employers and citizens to take note of this report because it makes it very clear which legislators were supportive of bettering Indiana’s economic climate and which were not."

Legislators who score 70% or greater for the most recent two-year voting period are eligible for endorsement by the Chamber’s political action committee, Indiana Business for Responsive Government.

Bills used in the report were selected based on their significant impact to the state’s economic climate and workforce. Lawmakers are kept apprised of the Chamber position and reasoning on these bills through various communications during the legislative session — and prior to key votes being taken. Only floor votes for which there is a public record are used in the Legislative Vote Analysis.

The final vote on House Bill 1001 — the right-to-work legislation — was counted twice in the report to reflect the importance placed on that policy.

Copies of the Legislative Vote Analysis report are sent to all legislators and Indiana Chamber board members, and made available online for all businesspersons, community leaders and citizens.

For 28 years, the Chamber has measured the voting performance of all 150 legislators on bills that reflect the organization’s public policy positions.

The Indiana Chamber has been the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy organization for 90 years, with members in every county and legislative district. Today, the Indiana Chamber serves more than 5,000 member companies that employ 800,000 Hoosier workers.

Where Our Legislators Got Their Degrees

In terms of college education, do state legislators accurately represent their constituents? The Chronicle of Higher Education wanted to know the answer and researched the degrees – or lack thereof – of more than 7,000 lawmakers. An interactive map has a state-by-state breakdown.

According to the map, IU and Purdue’s main campuses account for 68 of our legislators’ degrees, and the vast majority were educated right here in the state. Although, five of our representatives sought higher education in California and just two were educated in New York (state). It also indicates 13% of our legislators did not attend college, while 35% gained advanced degrees.

See the map for yourself to find out how many legislators went to your alma mater.

 

Golf Industry a Driver in Hoosier Economy

I’ll admit it: I’m a golfer. It’s become my favorite sport to play over the years, which is high praise for the game considering how poorly I play it.

A new report from the Indiana Golf Alliance conveys golf has a much greater impact on Indiana than merely forcing Hoosiers like myself to create new curse words while outdoors:

As the Indiana Golf Alliance releases the results of the Economic Impact Study on the game of golf in the Hoosier State, top Indiana PGA Professionals will provide free lessons to legislators in the historic capitol rotunda. This is the first time golf will take center stage at the Statehouse but its presence has had a profound impact on the state for many years…

The Study, completed in 2010, showed impressive data. Golf provides $909 million in direct revenue to the Indiana economy. Compare that number to other industries in the state and it paints a clear picture of how important the golf industry is to the state’s economy. In Indiana, medical equipment manufacturing accounts for $5.8 billion to Indiana’s economy. Soybean production accounts for $2.4 billion to the economy and dairy products account for $640 million to Indiana’s economy. Additionally, the Indiana Study showed that over 21,000 jobs in Indiana are created through the golf industry and account for a total wage income of $530 million.

It’s well publicized that golf and charities work hand in hand. The Study found that in 2008, charitable giving by the Indiana Golf Industry topped the $42 million mark. Golf course owners, operators and PGA Professionals serve as access points for hundreds, if not thousands, of local service organizations for their annual fundraising needs.

The findings of the study came as no surprise to those closely associated with the golf industry.

“The Economic Impact Study validates that golf is an economic engine that contributes substantially to the momentum of the Indiana economy,” said Linda Rogers, owner of Juday Creek Golf Course in Granger, Ind. and Vice President of the National Golf Course Owners Association.

PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka concurred with Rogers’ statement. “The biggest benefit of these studies is the ability to show how golf benefits not only the 1 in 11 Americans who play, but entire communities which benefit from the jobs it creates, the green space it protects and the healthy recreation it provides for people of all ages,” said Steranka.

National Shake-Up Brings ‘Fresh’ Faces to Government

Indiana’s 24 new members of the General Assembly make for an unusually large freshman class. But how about these House newcomer totals: 60 of 110 total in Michigan; 75 of 163 in Missouri; and 128 of 400 in New Hampshire? What will be the impact? Stateline reports:

If you see someone wandering around lost in the Michigan Capitol when the state House and Senate convene next month, there’s a good chance it will be a legislator. The 110-member House of Representatives will include 60 newcomers — all of whom will arrive in Lansing without any state legislative experience whatsoever.

The huge turnover in the Michigan House — the result not only of an unhappy electorate, but also of strict term limits that forced out 34 incumbents — has many political observers wondering what will happen when so many novices suddenly find themselves with so much power over the direction of state policy.

“It’s almost impossible to forecast,” says Craig Ruff, a Lansing political consultant who estimates more than 90 percent of all members of the Michigan House will have no more than two years on the job. At the very least, Ruff says, it could make for some interesting political theater, even within the newly elected Republican majority, as first-term members may not wish to be shepherded by their own legislative leaders.

“It’s much harder to enforce discipline when people aren’t accustomed to being disciplined,” Ruff says, noting that some lawmakers may be inclined to ask a simple question of their leaders: “I’ve got one vote. You’ve got one vote. What makes you so supreme?”

Similar scenarios may emerge in other capitols. The 2010 election cycle is frequently noted for its historic turnover in governor’s mansions, with 28 new chief executives about to take office in the coming weeks. But because of term limits, retirements and the ouster of hundreds of incumbents nationwide this year, there will also be a huge number of state legislators coming to the job for the first time. In many states, including Maryland, Nevada and Maine, incoming freshmen have already taken crash courses on everything ranging from the basics of legislative procedure to the right way to speak with reporters.

Nationwide, the turnover in state legislatures will be about 25 percent, a number that Tim Storey, an elections analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, describes as an “extraordinarily high” number in a non-redistricting year.

In several states, as in Michigan, first-time legislators will comprise roughly half of all members in one or both chambers, bringing a new and unpredictable dynamic to statehouses where clout and experience often rule. In Arkansas, for example, where term limits ensured plenty of turnover even before ballots were cast, 44 of 100 members of the state House will be new next year, with no state-level legislative experience under their belts.

In next-door Missouri, 75 of 163 House members will be state legislative novices. So large is the class of “true freshman” GOP representatives in the Missouri House that it outnumbers the chamber’s entire Democratic caucus, as well as the number of returning Republicans.

In New Hampshire, which does not have term limits, the 400-member House of Representatives — the largest state legislative chamber in the nation — will have 128 fresh faces next year, all of them new to the business of state lawmaking.

Townships are Blaming the Puppies

Thanks to a story by WRTV 6 News in Indianapolis, we now know why townships don’t always file their state-required reports on time — or at all in some cases. It’s because "the dog ate my homework" or "we can’t do that because we don’t know how to use a computer."

Elementary school teachers have heard the former for years, while the latter is no longer applicable as that computer and Internet thing appears to be here to say. Sure, I gave my own interpretations to township officials’ comments when questioned about their reports, but read for yourself and see if you don’t come away with the same impression.

It’s not just an Indianapolis problem, of course. It’s more than 1,000 trustees statewide and 3,000-4,000 advisory board members taking part in a form of government that features ineffectiveness, inefficiency, nepotism, fraud and the like. Just a few of those recent stories can be found here, here, here and here.

While the effort to find a better way to serve citizens and save taxpayer money continues, the results have unfortunately become a farce. The township system DOES NOT WORK, and maybe even worse, lawmakers won’t do anything about it. Those in office and those running for election this fall: When will you fix this mess?

Tallying the Statehouse Scores

There are not too many games of any type played in which no score is kept. And while one might argue that crafting the laws that apply to Indiana companies, their employees and all Hoosier citizens is no "game" in the traditional sense, the antics that go into that process would suggest otherwise.

No matter the terminology, legislators run for office vowing to serve their constituents. The Indiana Chamber represents nearly 5,000 business organizations with 800,000 employee constituents. The Chamber tells the lawmakers what bills it is tracking, the business community’s positions on those important issues, why specific bills are supported or opposed — and then we keep score on how they vote.

The tallies are contained in the annual Legislative Vote Analysis, released today. It has 2010 and two-year vote scores for all 150 members of the Indiana House and Senate. The goal: let those employers, employees and all Hoosier voters know which legislators are supporting pro-economic development, pro-jobs initiatives. It removes the talk and the posturing from the equation. The vote totals speak loudly.

As the introductory letter asks: Was your legislator part of the solution or part of the problem? Scores range from a low of 33% (a certain long-time legislator from South Bend who doesn’t always vote because of his leadership position in the House) to a high of 93% (from a Fort Wayne-based senator). Overall, the totals are disappointing. Take a look for yourself, share the information with others and use it as a guide as the election process plays out this year for all 100 representatives and a portion of the senators.

Read today’s press release and access the full report.

Governor to Legislators: A Billion is a Billion (in Reserves)

Governor Mitch Daniels presented his revised budget proposal to a special legislative committee this afternoon. He closed with announcing that the special session will begin on June 11 (1 p.m.). Among his key earlier points:

  • The special session is "not something to be regretted, but something to be grateful for."  He made it clear that he would have vetoed the proposed budget (defeated in the House in the last minutes of the regular session) due to the unrealistic revenue forecast that was in place at the time
  • He hopes legislators give serious consideration to an education trigger. If revenues do exceed projections at some point in the next two years, half of the excess would go toward education and the other half to the state’s rainy day fund
  • He indicated flexibility within his parameters to legislative wishes with the following exceptions: no gimmicks, no dipping into pension funds and only using one-time federal stimulus money for one-time purposes. "A billion means a billion (for reserves). It’s not a starting point."

Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) offered a preview of things to come for the committee:

  • State Budget Director Chris Ruhl answering more legislative questions on Thursday. A recommendation from the administration on the CIB funding crisis for Indianapolis sports and convention facilities is expected later that day
  • Testimony Thursday and Friday from proponents for K-12, higher education, Medicaid/social services and economic development/worker training
  • Legislative caucus presentations on Tuesday, June 9, with a focus, according to Kenley, on "major points you would like to see in the budget, not bringing in the additional bills you would like to see addessed in the special session"

Text of the governor’s address to the public on Monday and slides used in his presentation are available here