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January 19, 2014

FRIEND: 2014 legislative session underway

It’s a new year with many new opportuni-ties and a new legislative session with many new issues! I want to share some random thoughts on a variety of subjects. Much has occurred since I last wrote to you, and we have things to discuss. Through this session, I will write columns to keep our community up to date on all of the legislative happenings that are going on in Indianapolis.

Most recently, the weather has been foremost on everyone’s mind. The blizzard and dangerous temperatures put everyone at risk if they had to be outside. Roads were impassable, schools closed all week and businesses closed for a day or two until conditions improved. It is always impressive how neighbors help each other. I think it speaks volumes about the character of a community when neighbors check on and assist each other. It is Biblical, “love thy neighbor as yourself.” Watching it happen is fantastic.

Priorities for this short session include:

1. Early childhood education. A program that will focus on low-income, urban children, hoping to give them a better start.

2. Skills gap. Improving education opportunities for vocational and technical skills. Many employers have jobs to fill but can’t find skilled people to employ.

3. Road construction and maintenance. Continuing to improve infrastructure and create jobs.

4. Fair business taxation. Continue to be pro-business and tax-friendly state.

5. Eliminate some burdensome regulations. Repeal outdated laws and regulations.

Much of the attention of this session will focus on HJR-3, the marriage amendment, but many of these priorities will also be addressed.

Some have asked me why this is a “short” session. In odd numbered years, a two-year state budget must be produced. It requires more time, and session must adjourn by April 29. In even numbered years, sessions are to address financial and administrative emergencies and must adjourn by March 14. In truth, many complex issues are squeezed into a short session.

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Columns
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  • WILLIAMS: Get out on the highway My son's truck is in the shop and my friend, Jan, was in the hospital so I had her truck in order to be able to go feed her cats while John used my car to go to work. Jan and I both purchased vehicles before we retired that we hoped would be the last

    April 24, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Tax bills show what smoke & mirrors don't There's a price to be paid for the decline in what we call civic engagement -- and local property taxpayers are paying that price. In case you haven't received your 2014 Cass County property tax statement yet, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock w

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  • MARCUS: Illinois brings joy to Indiana From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services t

    April 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Wait a minute here — what did I just sign? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 22, 2014

  • LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 21, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation

    April 21, 2014

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • GUTWEIN: Strengthening Indiana for Hoosier veterans America's legacy was built on the foundation created by our brave service men and women. Whether they defended our nation's borders overseas or assisted Hoosiers during the harsh winter months, we need to do everything we can to make Indiana the best

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  • CEPEDA: Baseball's sacred temple Call it a character defect, but I don't like baseball. And I especially don't like the Chicago Cubs -- losers I never found lovable. I grew up less than a mile west of Wrigley Field and games there represented summer-long inconveniences such as midda

    April 20, 2014

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