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General Assembly To Establish Study Committee Priorities

Legislative leaders worry about the high number of issues it must consider this year.

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Photo: Jasont82 (Wikimedia)

Issues lawmakers have to study this year include investigating the Common Core educational standards, school safety, a comprehensive criminal code overhaul and central Indiana mass transit.

Top state lawmakers will meet at the Statehouse this week to establish the General Assembly’s top priorities for this summer’s study committees. Legislative leaders worry about the high number of issues it must consider this year.

The Indiana Legislative Council, which governs the legislature when it’s not in session, is meeting earlier than usual this year and that is no accident.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says it’s partly to encourage study committees to begin their work earlier as they face what he says is “an inordinate number” of topics. Issues lawmakers have to study this year include investigating the Common Core educational standards, school safety, a comprehensive criminal code overhaul and central Indiana mass transit.

And Long says much of the legislation that will move through the General Assembly next year will be developed by study committees.

“This is a process that people really don’t pay a lot of attention to because we’re not in session but a great deal of work is done in these committees and a lot of important work,” Long says.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath agrees study committees can be useful, but he says that canot happen if there are too many.

“So many issues have been shoved into the summer, I think it’s going to be hard to give very many of them justice,” Pelath says. “It’s not going to be like you do a really good job at two or three and then you do a mediocre job at the rest of them. I think when you have too much, everything suffers.”

Long says he and other legislative leaders are considering changing the study committee system to make it easier to handle bigger loads like the one it faces this summer.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • Daniel

    Of course they could have alleviated a lot of this backlog with the reams of studies done about mass transit in Indianapolis over multiple decades. The summer study committee is where controversial legislation goes to die because people are too scared to actually vote on it. The Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee simply punted on HB 1011 by sending it to the study committee.

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