This week we began the second half of this year’s legislative session. In the first half, we passed 114 bills out of the House and the Senate advanced 169 bills. One point I always like to make is about the collaborative environment at the Statehouse. Of the bills that passed the House so far, every single one had bipartisan support. Furthermore, 89% of those bills passed with 10 or fewer “nay” votes. I think this is important to note because many people don’t realize that we have a lot of bipartisan and practical legislation.
I am the House sponsor of eight Senate bills. Of those, my top priority is Senate Bill 184. This bill would allow Indiana Farm Bureau to offer a health benefits plan to Farm Bureau members. This plan would not be health insurance, but would offer similar benefits at an affordable price. Many farmers struggle with health and insurance costs, so providing them with a new option would be positive step in addressing health care access. Other states, such as Kansas and Tennessee, have implemented a program like this through their Farm Bureaus with great success. This is Farm Bureau’s top priority this session, and I’m honored to be working closely with them to see this bill through the process. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and my goal is to earn similar support in the House!
Senate Bill 195 is another bill I am sponsoring this session. This bill would create a career and technical education cluster of courses that focus on the utility industry. Similar to many professions right now, we are experiencing a shortage in the number of skilled workers needed to build and maintain our electric, water, wastewater, natural gas, and broadband internet infrastructure. Allowing the State Board of Education to approve a sequence of courses that would expose students to these high-demand, high-wage jobs is a great way to encourage more young people to enter this profession.
House Bill 1218, which I authored on locating underground utility infrastructure, passed the Senate Utilities Committee this week, and I expect it will pass the full Senate next week.
A lot more is happening and I will keep you updated as this session continues moving quickly. Starting next week, we will see many bills head through committee. If you have an idea or concern on a particular bill, please contact me! As always, it’s your state government, so participate in it.
State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) represents House District 23, which includes portions of Cass, Fulton and Miami counties.