Committees help solve lawmakers’ problems

By Woody Burton

One of the unique things about Indiana’s state government is that we have a part-time legislature. This means we only meet and vote on legislation for three to four months at the start of each year.

The rest of the year is spent back home with our families and constituents, focusing on local issues and oftentimes pursuing a career outside our elected position. I have been selling homes with my wife, Volly, for nearly 40 years.

Being a citizen legislator allows me to bring a unique set of skills and perspective to the statehouse while I represent our community.

Even though the legislature completes its official business during the first few months of the year, lawmakers continue to conduct interim study committee meetings throughout the summer and fall months to discuss potential legislation and issues facing the state. During the legislative session, there are hundreds of bills filed.

To ensure we do not tackle any issue too hastily, we devote a lot of time researching proposed legislation. Because we only have a short amount of time to fully vet bills under consideration, we sometimes recommend topics be considered by a study committee after the legislative session.

These committees, just like standing committees, are made up of part-time citizen legislators who have experience working in an industry or with a particular policy topic.

This year, I am serving as the vice chairman of the Interim Study Committee on Pension Management Oversight and as a member of the Interim Study Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance.

Every year, the Interim Study Committee on Pension Management Oversight takes a hard look at the state’s public pension program, vetting any proposed changes. This committee plays a critical role in maintaining Indiana’s public pension plans, so hardworking Hoosiers are able to save for and enjoy retirement with peace of mind.

I’m passionate about this because our retired public employees spent a majority of their life serving our great state and deserve the retirement money they saved through our public plans.

The Interim Study Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance has been working to find ways to streamline our banking laws and cut unnecessary red tap in the insurance industry. Over the years, our insurance laws and requirements have grown so much that they have begun to place a burden on Hoosiers. Through our meetings we hope to find solutions to make any reporting requirements easy and efficient.

Most of the interim study committees are already meeting. You can find a complete schedule at iga.in.gov as well as watch archived and live meetings. The public is always encouraged to attend these meetings, and if we are discussing a topic that directly impacts you, we welcome you to testify and share your experience before the committee. Hoosiers offer great insight on issues that need to be addressed.

If you have any questions about study committees or the legislative process, please contact me at 317-232-9648 or h58@iga.in.gov. I also encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletters to receive regular updates at www.in.gov/h58.

State Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, represents a portion of Johnson County. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.