By State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem)
During the summer months when the Indiana General Assembly is not in session, study committees are tasked with taking an in-depth look at some of the more complex issues facing our state, and examining topics which may be addressed with future legislation.
As the State Senator for District 47, I have been advocating for expanding affordable and efficient broadband services to rural communities throughout the state. It is critical that Hoosier families, students and businesses are able to access this technology, and I have passed legislation that will help to bridge the digital divide in rural communities. While we have taken great strides, there is work to be done.
Recently, I was appointed to serve on the Interim Study Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications, which will be looking at new ways to expand this technology to unserved communities. I am looking forward to working with my fellow lawmakers and various service providers to explore additional options to further this development.
Some of the other topics this committee will examine include:
- Self-generation of electricity by school corporations;
- Health effects, public safety implications, issues with property valuation, policies defining conflict of interest and issues concerning economic development related to wind power devices; and
- Rental rates and other fees for the attachment of communications service facilities on utility poles owned or controlled by electricity suppliers.
I will also be serving as chair of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana (CISC). The CISC studies a variety of issues concerning vulnerable youth and makes recommendations to the General Assembly in order to promote the best interests of Hoosier children across the state.
You can find a list of all interim study committees and the topics being studied on the Indiana General Assembly’s website at www.in.gov/iga.