Senator Carlin Yoder and Representatives Dave Wolkins and Curtis Nisly participated in the first Third House Session hosted by the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce Friday morning.
The three elected officials briefly spoke of activity during recent sessions and answered questions from the several dozen individuals in attendance.
Wolkins stated there has been 600 plus bills assigned to committee the first week, with 1,600 to 2,000 bills introduced, but only 200 possibly becoming law. He stated he has a small agenda, due to medical reasons.
One bill he introduced is allowing licensing for the mini-trucks seen on the road, HB 1047; another bill, HB 1351, calls for restrictions on rule making, prohibiting agencies to adopt rules more stringent than the government.
Wolkins also noted a bill, HB 1496, has been introduced regarding regional sewer districts and connections. The bill lowers the acreage for exemption. He said 90 percent of the districts are great, “some don’t treat people the way they should be treated.” This bill is authored by Rep. Greg Beumer, but was originated by Wolkins.
Nisly expressed his enjoyment of meeting new people and becoming educated on issues. He is serving on the roads and transportation, government reduction, and interstate and international cooperation committees. He noted there has only been one bill introduced.
Nisly noted he has authored a bill regarding teacher education, training teachers to be better prepared with special needs students, HB 1437; and co-authored a bill on the sales tax exemptions for bullion or currency, HB 1046. A third bill he noted, and authored, regarded wholesale auto dealers, fees and license plates HB 1439. The latter bill reflected on a Syracuse car wholesaler who lost his licensing due to a change in the law, requiring individuals to become a retailer. This bill reverses that decision.
Yoder, who represents District 12 which includes Turkey Creek Township, stated the senate is off and running with too many bills. As chairman of homeland security and transportation committee, he has 40 bills he is sorting through. During his presentation, he provided insight to the seriousness an elected official must take when voting on bills. The example was allowing an adopted individual to go back and find record of his/her birth parent. He explained his position on the bill and was one of three senators voting against it. “We made a promise to the birth parent,” he said.
Bills he sponsored and mentioned included chauffeur’s license exemption for RV haulers and military designation on driver’s licenses and ID cards.
Relating to transportation, Yoder stated Indiana Department of Transportation has stated it would take $700 million a year to bring all roads and bridges up to snuff, maintain and build new roads. While the state is fiscally in good shape, there is not that type of funding available.
“You will hear about the amount of bills and think it is ridiculous, but a lot are undoing government, minimizing government and are not as bad as they seem, but there are bad bills,” he said.
The next 3rd House Session will be 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13.