Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

June 3, 2013

My first report card

Cindy Ziemke
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Five hundred and ninety-two votes were taken during the 2013 legislative session in the House.

That means that 592 times, we (legislators) publicly cast our vote on the issue at hand, representing both our view of the issue and the voices of all of our constituents.

Each and every vote is a statement to be taken seriously. You entrusted me to do a very important job at the Statehouse, one that I don’t take lightly. The decisions legislators make by the votes we cast directly affect everyone in Indiana, including ourselves, our families and our communities.

After session each year, the Indiana Manufacturers Association (IMA) publishes a “voting scorecard” as a record of how all representatives and senators voted on bills important to the organization and Indiana’s manufacturing industry. With a 94 percent voting rate on IMA priority bills and a 99.5 percent voting record overall, my record shows that I am committed to keeping Indiana on top as a state that is open for business.

According to IMA president and CEO, Patrick Kiely, Indiana has the highest share of manufacturing as a percentage of private industry Gross State Product in the U.S. (29.7 percent) and the highest percentage of the workforce employed in manufacturing (16.4 percent). This ties in very well with the General Assembly’s goal of continuing to facilitate an economic atmosphere conducive to job growth and economic development.

Even though session ended about a month ago, business continues at the Statehouse. Recently the Legislative Council met to assign interim study committee topics for the General Assembly to work on until the 2014 session. The council is composed of 12 voting members with six appointed from the Senate by the chairman of the council and six appointed members from the House by the vice-chairman of the council.

This year, Senate Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne), and Speaker of the House, Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), serve as the chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, for the council. The chair and vice-chair positions alternate back and forth between the House and the Senate.

Study committees are an important part of the legislative process, giving legislators time to dig deep into critical issues facing our state. These committees lay the groundwork for much of the legislation to come before the General Assembly next session. Some of the issues to be studied this summer include:

•    Common Core Educational Standards;

•    ISTEP+ testing and implementation;

•    Best practices for school resource officers and improving school safety;

•    Issues addressing the safety and status of children in Indiana; and

•    An evaluation of Indiana’s Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy.

A total of 20 committees and commissions were assigned various issues to be addressed over the next several months and to make a final report by Nov. 1. I look forward to receiving my study committee appointments and starting to work with my fellow legislators toward the continuing betterment of our state. I will keep you up-to-date on what the Legislature is working on over the summer, and I hope you’ll do the same for me. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns by emailing me at h55@iga.in.gov or by call 317-232-9850.

State Rep. Cindy Ziemke serves as Vice Chairman of the Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction. Rep. Ziemke represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.