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Organization Day 2011: Key Issues Awaiting Indiana’s General Assembly

November 26, 2011

11/28/11 State Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen) gathered with fellow lawmakers today at the Statehouse for “Organization Day” – the first official day of the 117th Indiana General Assembly’s short legislative session. Despite being a non-budgetary year, several important issues including job creation, economic development and education reforms will be prominent.

“In the upcoming months, legislators will be working together to pass laws that encourage private-sector investments, improve student success and modernize Indiana’s criminal sentencing policies,” Mishler said. “While members of the General Assembly will not always agree on proposals that come up for votes during session, we do share the common goal of wanting to do what is best for our state as we continue to move Indiana forward.”

Organization Day is largely ceremonial and marked by the swearing in of new members filling vacant seats and taking roll calls of all members. This day also provides each caucus with a chance to organize before starting on Jan. 4. State budgets are not written during “short sessions,” which occur in even-numbered years. By law, the 2012 session must be completed no later than March 14.

Mishler said a variety of issues will receive legislative attention during the upcoming session:

Jobs and the Economy:

No issue will be more important to lawmakers in the 2012 legislative session than strengthening Indiana’s economy. Legislators will continue to pursue pro-growth policies by leveraging some key Hoosier resources: a highly skilled workforce, world-class education system, strategic geographic location and modern infrastructure.

Continued Fiscal Responsibility:

While many states face daunting budget shortfalls caused by overspending and a difficult national economy, Indiana’s commitment to fiscal responsibility has allowed the state’s books to remain balanced with reserves in place. Lawmakers will work hard this session to preserve Indiana’s sound fiscal footing by living within its means and finding ways to stretch tax dollars without negatively impacting essential state services.

Preparing Students for Success:

By supporting a student-focused, results-oriented public education system, Indiana is laying the groundwork for the future workforce and providing them with the skills necessary to grow our state’s economy and succeed in an increasingly competitive world. Lawmakers and educators will strive this session to maintain Indiana’s status as a national leader in education by promoting college and career readiness for every student and ensuring accountability for all schools.

Clarifying State Self-Defense Laws:

Balancing safety for law-enforcement officers with Hoosiers’ right to defend their property will be a key concern for legislators this session. Policymakers will respond to a recent unexpected Indiana Supreme Court ruling that said Hoosiers don’t have the right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes. Two important principles are at stake: the centuries-old understanding that citizens can defend their property from unlawful intrusion and the responsibility to minimize the dangers faced by police in fast-paced, complex criminal investigations. The General Assembly will pursue legislation that honors both principles.

Mishler said constituents wanting to stay in touch may contact him at  or 1-800-382-9467.