Governor Eric Holcomb delivered his first State of the State address Tuesday evening to a joint session of the Indiana General Assembly. Gov. Holcomb proposed a set of transformational priorities, called his five pillars: (1) Cultivate a strong and diverse economy to ensure that Indiana remains a magnet for jobs; (2) fund a long-term roads and bridges plan that takes the greatest advantage of our location; (3) develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce; (4) attack the drug epidemic, and (5) provide great government service at a great value to taxpayers.
Gov. Holcomb expressed his support for increasing the skills of Indiana’s workforce in order to strengthen the state’s economy. Holcomb also stated his support for a proposed balanced budget amendment to the Indiana constitution, a resolution which passed the Senate Tax & Fiscal Policy Committee this week. Senate Joint Resolution 7, authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman, provides that the total amount of expense appropriations enacted by the general assembly for a biennial budget may not exceed the estimated revenue of the state in the biennial budget period.
Chief Justice Loretta Rush delivered the State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday afternoon. The Chief Justice is required to provide lawmakers with an update on the “condition of the courts” according to Article 7, Section 3, of the Indiana Constitution. The 2017 address “Praise for our Partners in Justice” focused on the work of clerks, public defenders, prosecutors, probation officers, volunteers, advocates, law enforcement, interpreters, service providers, mentors, educators, local government officials, attorneys, and others whose contributions are vital to the success of the judicial branch.
Committee hearings geared up this week as bill lists continue to be handed down in the House and Senate. Speaker Bosma indicated there are still about one hundred bills yet to be assigned to committees. State agencies and universities delivered their budget presentations to the Ways & Means Committee as members work to craft the biennial state budget.
Legislative business concluded on Wednesday as a large Indiana delegation travels to Washington, D.C. for the Presidential Inauguration. We continue reviewing legislation as a number of new bills posted this week. Committee hearings will increase next week when lawmakers return on Monday.