Indiana lawmakers release summer study topics

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INDIANAPOLIS— Indiana lawmakers are digging deep this summer on some of the biggest challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interim study committee topics were released this week.

“We know that COVID-19 has brought a lot of issues,” said State Sen. Eddie Melton.

However, lawmakers have not had a lot of time to study them. That’s why this summer and fall, lawmakers will explore solutions to problems like a lack of access to housing.

It was a study topic requested by Democratic State Senator Shelli Yoder.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused crises in unimaginable ways, and one specific area that is experiencing the brunt of this unprecedented crisis is the housing market,” said Sen. Yoder. “Currently, the Lt. Governor’s Office and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority are gathering raw data, county by county, on existing housing. This information is timely, given increased demand and low supply. Having more granular specifics on the housing crisis in Indiana will help all Hoosiers and provide Indiana a competitive edge while we work to attract new businesses.”

“We know that Indiana is facing a housing crisis for many communities across the state looking for quality and affordable housing,” said Melton.

The General Assembly is also taking up child safety with the Department of Child Services, education and unemployment programs.

“Also, criminal code,” said Melton. “Looking at sentencing reform, looking at human trafficking.”

The Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana is focusing on study topics like access to utilities such as broadband and renewable energy.

“We have a significant interest in what happens in the energy task force,” said CAC Executive Director Kerwin Olson. “We would like to see more opportunities for the public to participate.”

There’s committee chair discretion when it comes to how often people can testify on study topics but that doesn’t mean you can’t pay attention and reach out to lawmakers outside of the meetings.

“I think the public should be aware that your money is being spent at the statehouse and make sure that you have a voice,” said Olson.

State Sen. Eddie Melton said it’s the perfect time to listen.

“Sometimes, we have to take more time to allow legislators to get more educated and informed to make wise decisions and to make good policy decisions,” said Melton.

Legislative leaders will assign members to each study committee in the coming weeks.

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