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Policy Points

Policy Points is a bi-weekly publication of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, providing insight and analysis of critical local, state and federal issues.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Table of Contents

Chamber Day at the Statehouse report

As readers of Policy Points know, the annual Chamber Day at the Statehouse was March 14. This day provided an opportunity for local chambers from around the state to travel to the capitol to meet with top state officials. We also got to see our local state lawmakers in action in the Statehouse.

Here was the agenda:
  • Welcoming remarks – Jeff Rea, South Bend Regional Chamber
  • Legislative leader panel: Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown, Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley – moderated by Kyle Hannon, Elkhart Chamber
  • Governor Eric Holcomb – conversation led by Christian Maslowski, Greenwood Chamber. Video here.
  • Secretary of State Connie Lawson – introduced by Justin Groenert, SW Indiana Chamber
  • IEDC President Elaine Bedel – introduced by Tricia Bechman, Seymour Chamber
  • Final remarks and departure to Statehouse – Cheryl Hamilton, Linton Chamber

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Beyond the agenda

Thanks to State Senator Joe Zakas, Rep. Wes Culver, Rep. Doug Miller, and Rep. Tim Wesco for joining our delegation for lunch and the program.
After lunch we had time to catch the last moments of the House and Senate sessions for the day.

Later, when our group was touring the Statehouse, we ran across Rep. Miller outside the House Chamber. Session had ended about 30 minutes earlier, so he invited us in to see the House floor up close. He then invited us up to the main podium for a photo op.

In a different part of the Statehouse we were observing the outside of the Lt. Governor’s office. As we were standing there, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch approached and invited us inside to see her office.

As we worked our way through the building, we saw other local chambers meeting with their lawmakers.

From our region, represented chambers included Elkhart, Goshen, South Bend, Warsaw/Kosciusko County, Syracuse/Wawasee, LaPorte, and Fulton County.

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Third House Report

At the recent (March 10) Third House town hall meeting, we were joined by State Sen. Blake Doriot, State Rep. Doug Miller, and State Rep. Tim Wesco. They shared the fates of bills they have introduced. Some are doing well. Some have stalled.

Transportation funding was a major topic, but we also discussed equitable education funding, cigarette tax, prayer in schools, and other current issues. About 40 people attended the meeting, which was held in the Elkhart Public Library.

The final Third House town hall forum for the 2017 session will be Friday, April 7, noon, at the Library. Hope you can join us. Thank you to Indiana Michigan Power for sponsoring the Third House series.

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Legislative home builders

One issue that came up during the Third House meeting was a recent home build our legislators participated in. Habitat for Humanity set up the build session for lawmakers right outside the Statehouse. Here is a story from Rep. Wesco’s office.

Rep. Doug Miller commented that he really enjoyed the opportunity, and he shared an amusing story. If you have ever participated in the Habitat home building project (and you should) a building mentor will tell you how to do what you need to do. So any skill level will be able to participate.

Well, Rep. Miller has been a homebuilder for many years. The lawmaker he was standing next to is also in the homebuilding business. They politely informed the building mentor that they had 80 years of homebuilding experience between them.

The building mentor smiled and quietly moved on to the next group.

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Indiana Chamber update

The legislative session has reached its halfway point. As legislation moves, it changes. The Indiana Chamber has been updating its legislative analysis to help you keep up with legislative action. Read it here.

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Visit our sponsor: Majority Builders

Upcoming Chamber events

For more information about these and other events, visit our website.

Mar 21, Biz-Ness After Hours hosted by Cressy & Everett Real Estate, 5 - 7 pm, Our Place on Main, 126 S. Main St., Elkhart

Mar 23, The Elkhart Promise - Young Professionals Luncheon11:30 am - 1 pm, Elkhart Community Schools J.C. Rice Educational Services Center

Apr 7, Third House Town Hall Forum, Noon - 1:30 pm, Elkhart Public Library, 300 S 2nd St, Elkhart

Apr 12, The Value of Lean and How to Harness Its Powerin partnership with SCORE, 3:30 - 5 pm, Greater Elkhart Chamber

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