It’s hard enough to create policy and pass it through the legislature in a normal year.
But during a pandemic? Every law generated by the Indiana General Assembly will affect Hoosiers in both the short and long term future.
The 2021 legislative session will commence on Jan. 4 at the Statehouse — 304 days since Gov. Eric Holcomb first declared a public health emergency on March 6.
At the top of the list of the lawmakers’ priorities is creating a budget for the next two years, which will need to take into account the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other issues the legislature will face include expanding broadband internet access, transportation projects, teacher pay, public health (including telemedicine) and justice reform, among other initiatives.
Additionally, lawmakers also will reevaluate how much power a governor has during a public health emergency. Many legislators have criticized the governor’s actions throughout the pandemic, saying he’s overstepping his boundaries and his actions are constitutional.
This past election cycle, a record number of Jackson County voters casts ballots.
While representatives have been determined by the people, the public’s role in politics isn’t over.
It’s imperative that citizens continue to communicate with their lawmakers, and ask them what their priorities are for this legislative session while also sharing their own concerns.
More than 50 proposed bills have already been posted to the Indiana General Assembly’s website, and can be viewed at iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/bills/.
Future bills will also be posted at the link, which will also provide updates as votes happen in the House and Senate.
The decisions by state leaders in the coming weeks will determine the future of Indiana. All citizens should stay involved in the process, and continue to make their voices heard.
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