INDIANAPOLIS -- Despite facing many challenges during the just-completed 2012 session of the Indiana General Assembly, District 44 Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) says the efforts of state legislators have made Indiana even better.
"I am extremely proud of what we accomplished together this legislative session," Baird said Sunday. "Though met with many challenges this session, the 2012 session continued to support a strong Indiana.
"Working hard, we took steps forward for Indiana," Baird said. "We maintained our commitment to finding avenues to make Indiana's job climate one that attracts businesses here and gets Hoosiers back to work."
Education continued to be important during the short session.
"The more time our students have with great teachers, the better off they are," Rep. Baird stressed. "We focused on early education for our children by passing legislation that doubles the funding for full-day kindergarten in Indiana.
"Also, a portion of excess reserves has been set aside for the Pension Stabilization Fund for teachers, and we also made improvements to the Automatic Taxpayer Refund so Hoosiers will see a meaningful tax refund."
Baird represents District 44, which includes all of Putnam County and parts of Clay, Parke and Vigo counties. He is a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.
Meanwhile, as Rep. Baird was completing his second year and his first term in the Statehouse, District 37 Sate Sen. Richard Bray (R-Martinsville) was finishing his 38-year career (20 years in the State Senate and 18 in the House).
"As this legislative session comes to a close," Sen. Bray said, "I feel truly blessed to have made many memories and friends during my tenure in the Indiana General Assembly.
"As I leave the Senate, I thank my fellow colleagues who have supported and challenged me throughout the years I've served at the Statehouse," the 77-year-old Bray added.
Overall, Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar says the 2012 legislative session should be remembered for far more than being the forum for Indiana becoming the 23rd right-to-work state.
"While right-to-work was deservedly the headliner, we finished with the passage of two impressive supporting acts: The statewide smoking ban and the inheritance tax elimination. Both have the potential to positively impact Hoosiers for generations to come," he offered.