Democrat walkout stalls Baird's Military Family Fund legislation
District 44 State Rep. Jim Baird's (R-Greencastle) authored legislation, House Bill 1059, advocating for the Military Family Relief Fund is one of many bills being delayed due to the Democrat walkout.
The Military Family Relief Fund bill was unanimously passed out of the Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee, but cannot be voted upon on the House floor until the Democrats return.
"The Democrats' refusal to debate, discuss and vote on any matter on the House floor and their refusal to take part in the representative democracy is not only wasting the short amount of time we have to hear and pass legislation, but most importantly, it is wasting the taxpayers' time and money," Rep. Baird said Friday.
"Though we have been unable to pass pieces of legislation on the House floor," he added, "committees have been hard at work to hear and vote upon bills."
Rep. Baird is a decorated U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War.
His Military Family Relief Fund legislation would extend the eligibility window for deployed soldiers and their families to receive grants from the Military Family Relief Fund from one year to three years.
The Military Family Relief Fund is completely funded through sales of Hoosier Veteran license plates, POW-MIA license plates and Support Our Troops license plates.
"We are trying to do everything we can to support our active troops and their families," Rep. Baird said.
Another piece of legislation authored by Rep. Baird would help reorganize two Parke County schools has also been stalled due to lack of a quorum.
The Government and Regulatory Reform Committee heard and passed Rep. Baird's House Bill 1058 with a 10-0 vote, with the Greencastle legislator providing testimony. His legislation would reorganize Rockville and Turkey Run schools into one corporation, providing a more efficient way for the school to provide opportunities for students.
"My main reason for bringing the bill forward is for the students in these school corporations and the opportunities that it would provide for them," Baird said. "Combining the two schools would allow more freedom for school programming and allow the corporation to use their funds to expand their curriculum."