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Through the summer and fall when the Indiana General Assembly is not in session, lawmakers convene interim committees and commissions to conduct in-depth research and analysis on complex issues facing the state. As a part-time legislature, the Indiana General Assembly often does not have the time and resources to completely delve into more complicated issues while in session, and interim committees are an opportunity to fully vet propos-ed initiatives.
Including legislators, state agency directors and community stakeholders well-versed in pertinent issues, these bipartisan committees conduct research, receive public testimony and hammer out recommendations.
Those recommendations typically form preliminary bill drafts to be considered when the next legislative session begins in January.
Take for example, the issue of sustaining Indiana’s fresh-water supplies. Undoubtedly a complicated issue, as many as five state agencies oversee the management of Indiana’s water resources as well as the Water Resources Study Committee. As a member of the committee, I can report that this year we conducted a thorough review of the factors influencing the state’s water-supply needs and targeted improving collaboration and coordination among all agencies overseeing the state’s water assets.
Also under consideration is the creation of a joint task force that would begin work next summer to streamline the handling of water issues between state and local governments and utilities.
The task force would also determine how the availability of water resources impacts state and regional economic development and study unique challenges facing water usage in rural and agricultural-dependent communities. Recommendations for a state-wide water plan resulting from those hearings would then be implemented administratively and through legislation.
Both of these initiatives mirror legislation I filed last year to begin looking at Indiana’s water supply and how water issues are managed at the state level.
I am happy to be a part of the continuing discussion to protect our state’s water resources. For a rundown of other issues considered by the myriad of interim study committees, log onto www.insendems. wordpress.com.
As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts and ideas on the issues that matter most to you. Please contact me at (800) 382-9467 or s47@iga. in.gov.
Young represents Senate District 47, which encompasses all or portions of Perry, Crawford, Dubois, Harrison, Orange and Washington counties. For more information on his legislation, call (800) 382-9467 or visit www.INgov/s47.