The Indiana General Assembly’s Legislative Council met Monday morning to assign summer study committees topics that might lead to legislative action in 2022.
Last year, the summer study topics included preparing for changes to the 2021 legislative session due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The committees will be studying questions like jurisdiction over adults for sex offenses committed while a child, juvenile sentencing to life without parole, unemployment programs for gig economy workers and independent contractors, and restrictions on allowing out-of-state licenses to practice an occupation in Indiana.
Legislators can propose a topic to study by email, letter or resolution. The study committees look at each issue and decide if it should lead to legislative action and can recommend specific action. Each committee is allowed three meetings but can request more meetings if needed.
“Study committees provide an important opportunity for lawmakers to examine complicated issues in depth without the time restrictions we face during a legislative session,” said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville.
The council also discussed the General Assembly’s annual payment of dues for certain organizations. Rep. Cherish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, who is the treasurer for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, asked if the organization can be added to the list.
Sen. Susan Glick, R-Howe, said during the council meeting that she finds the proposed payment of membership dues for the Black Legislative Caucus to be discriminatory since it is only for African American legislators.
“In this case, isolating based on race, I think it would be inappropriate for the legislative council or for the state to pay the dues,” Glick said.
Pryor said she doesn’t find the organization to be discriminatory.
“It is important for African American legislators to come together and address issues that specifically affect the African American community,” Pryor said.
Bray said legislative leaders have discussed adding the organization to the dues but he hasn’t had a chance to look at it in depth.
“We will look at other states and how they have done it to see if it is appropriate to include,” Bray said.
Alexa Shrake is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.