Lawson to chair two commissions

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) Monday appointed State Sen. Connie Lawson (R-Danville) as chair of both the Commission on Developmental Disabilities and the Commission on Mental Health.

Long also tapped Lawson to serve as a member of the Census Data Advisory Committee, Committee on Child Care, the Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Interagency Coordinating Council and the Medicaid Work Incentives Council.

During summer and fall months when the legislature is not in session full-time, lawmakers utilize bipartisan interim study committees and commissions to conduct in-depth research into complicated, complex issues facing Hoosiers. Often their work results in solutions and legislation that might otherwise go unaccomplished during the fast pace of the winter- and springtime legislative session, Long said.

"Sen. Lawson brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to these important commissions and committees," said Long. "Her lifetime of experience coupled with her commitment to helping solve problems facing our state makes her uniquely qualified to help lead this charge."

Lawson said she will closely watch developments of all study committees, review their recommendations and seek public input before the Indiana General Assembly reconvenes in January of 2010:

* Interim Study Committee on Alcoholic Beverages will review whether grocery, convenience and drug stores should be permitted to sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays, which is now prohibited by law. Members will also consider whether these establishments should sell chilled beer, now limited to liquor stores.

* Interim Study Committee on Driver Education will evaluate standards for Internet and classroom driver education courses and review teen-related crash statistics and the impact of effective driver training.

* Interim Study Committee on Education will review gaps that exist in Indiana's adult education programs and evaluate program funding. Members will review early school start dates and academic calendar flexibility as well as after-school programming needs.

* Interim Study Committee on Gaming will conduct the first comprehensive review of Indiana gaming law since 1993. Members will help generate a market analysis on gaming in Indiana to determine viability and profitability in light of gaming in Michigan and Illinois and the potential of gaming in Ohio and Kentucky. Members will also review issues dealing with admission taxes for riverboats, competition from out of state gaming entities, waivers for gaming tournaments, land-based gaming, non-smoking accommodations and limits on free alcohol in gaming facilities.

* Interim Study Committee on Medicaid Supplement will examine the effects and merits of expanding the Indiana check-up plan to cover additional childless adults through the federal Medicaid waiver or Medicaid state plan amendment.

* Interim Study Committee on Professional Licensing will study all boards that regulate occupations or professions under the Indiana professional licensing agency or the Indiana Department of Health. Members will help determine whether to restructure regulating boards and require national certification or registration of licensees.

* Interim Study Committee on School Funding Formula will conduct a comprehensive review of how the state distributes education dollars to rural, suburban and urban school corporations. Members will examine funding needed to address students living in poverty, having special education needs and lacking English-speaking skills.

More information about committee topics, schedules and agendas will be available online at

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