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Charbonneau to Chair Illiana Expressway Study Committee

July 12, 2011
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07/13/11 Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) today appointed State Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) as chair of the Illiana Expressway Proposal Review Committee.

Charbonneau said the panel will continue to evaluate the Illiana Expressway project, a 55-mile superhighway that will connect northwest Indiana with northeast Illinois.

Long also tapped Charbonneau to serve on the Water Resources Study Committee; Health Finance Commission; Northwest Indiana Advisory Board; and Lake Michigan Marina and Shoreline Development Commission.

During summer and fall months when the legislature is not in session full-time, lawmakers utilize bipartisan interim study committees and commissions to conduct in-depth research into complex issues facing Hoosiers. Often their work results in solutions and legislation that might otherwise go unaccomplished during the fast pace of the winter- and springtime legislative session, Long said. 

“Senator Charbonneau’s leadership abilities and background will be of great use to these study committees and commissions,” Long said. “He works hard to best represent the people of northwest Indiana and stay informed about the policies that come before the legislature.”

Charbonneau said he will closely watch developments of other key study committees, review their recommendations and seek public input before the Indiana General Assembly reconvenes in January of 2012:

  • Commission on Military and Veterans Affairs will review policies to help veteran-owned businesses and assess the needs of returning Indiana service members to better ensure those needs are met;
  • Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy will consider how Indiana’s income tax structure may influence a senior citizen’s decision on residency after retirement as well as the advantages and disadvantages of phasing out the state inheritance tax. The committee will also explore how local option income taxes affect facilities that employ a significant number of out-of-county residents and daily commuters;
  • Interim Study Committee on Economic Development will examine issues related to improving Indiana’s economic climate and tax system as well as the use and effectiveness of tax credits and deductions. Committee members will also discuss specific sectors of the economy for which Indiana might have comparative advantages over other states and possible improvements to state tax law that might encourage business investment. The committee will also study the extent to which Indiana’s education system supports economic development and how the use of stolen information technology by Indiana businesses impacts the economy;
  • Interim Study Committee on Education Issues will study how to improve graduation rates by reviewing best practices of other states and measuring the impact school counselors, teachers, administrators and parents have on achievement. Members will also examine superintendent compensation throughout Indiana and evaluate whether a statewide salary cap based upon the number of students per school district would be beneficial;
  • Interim Study Committee on Environmental Quality Service will gauge water quality in the Great Lakes and review federal funding for water protection and shipping procedures. Members will also evaluate potential air emissions by the distillation of mint and study possible permit licensing requirements for the process; and
  • Joint Study Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Assessment and Solutions will administer an in-depth, bipartisan legislative review of Indiana’s roads, bridges and rails. Members will assess Indiana’s transportation infrastructure, plan for future needs, discuss how to best fund projects and inform governmental bodies of lengthy road closures due to construction.

More information about committee topics, schedules and agendas will be available online at www.in.gov/legislative/interim.

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