These efforts are paying off, with a number of measures advancing (or poised to advance) through the legislative process. Most notable is HB1403 concerning the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s Regional Cities Initiative, the leading Indy Chamber policy priority in 2015.
The bill would create a fund providing grants and loans to regions around the state to make targeted investments in quality of life – investments that are critical as these regions shoulder the majority of Indiana’s projected population and workforce growth over the next 25 years (see maps below). Authored by Rep. Jerry Torr, HB1403 will be heard by the House Ways & Means Committee on Monday, February 2nd.
Also to be considered is the matter of ensuring the working-age population is equipped with the skills needed to join businesses investing in communities around the state. SB259 passed the Senate Education committee Wednesday and would establish an early learning program for students in select high schools to earn associate degrees inSTEM-related fields. HB1222 will go before the House Education Committee on Thursday, February 5th and would fund regional STEM education support networks.
These pieces of legislation are part of a large puzzle of employer-driven workforce development, and the Indy Chamber will continue to advocate for policies linking statewide strategies with the needs of the regional business community.
In other news...
HB1478 passed the full House Thursday and would provide for increased efficiency in the delivery of Marion County fire services through further consolidation of township fire departments. The bill is eligible for consideration by the Senate in early March.
HB1101 would enable the IEDC to designed localities as broadband ready communities and incentivize investment in communications infrastructure. Supported by a wide variety of stakeholders, it passed the full House Tuesday.
HB1036 will be heard by the House Roads and Transportation committee Wednesday, February 4th and could quite literally help pave the way for completion of I-69 to southern Marion County.
Stay tuned for next week’s update and all future updates on these bills and other Indy Chamber agenda items as the Indiana General Assembly session continues!
Join the conversation on Twitter @IndyChamber! For questions regarding the Indy Chamber’s advocacy efforts, please contact Vice President of Government Relations Mark Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.464.2291.
The race is on to build and attract a next generation workforce, and the state legislature is recognizing the importance of the Indianapolis region.
Indiana has excelled at creating a business environment of low, predictable taxation and limited regulation, emerging from the Great Recession with an unemployment rate outpacing many neighboring states and the national average in recent months. But the future success of this low-cost strategy is limited, and the Indy Chamber is working to re-focus Statehouse conversation on how our region and others around the state can train, attract and retain the next generation of talented, high-skilled workers.