ABATE Day at the State House 2009
March 5, 2009 --- Buses of bikers started arriving at the Indiana State Capitol about seven o’clock on the morning of Wednesday March 4th as ABATE of Indiana hosted the grassroots lobby activity, ABATE Day at the State House. Hundreds of motorcyclists representing every corner of the state participated in the legislative process to make certain that their voices were heard. We were also joined by some friends from out of state that wanted to witness this event and take notes that they could share with their SMRO (State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organization).
The day began sharing coffee and bagels with legislators and staff. We then conducted an orientation and briefing regarding ABATE’s legislative agenda, the current status of the bills we are watching and our strategy for the day and the rest of the session.
As people registered, they were given information to deliver to their legislators and advised of other folks from their district so they could coordinate a meeting with their representatives. The position papers and status reports were distributed and subjects specific to their areas were discussed.
While neither the House nor Senate are typically in session on Wednesdays, many committees call hearings or meetings and a great number of legislators use this time to get “caught up” in their office. We certainly had more members of the Indiana General Assembly in the building than there were out of the building.
We made contact with the leadership of both houses and visited virtually every state office. Most of our members were able to meet with their representative or staff and expressed our opinions and concerns.
Our collective thoughts were with Mike Meyer (State LINC Director) and Carl Schunke as they were unable to join us at this event (Mike’s father passed away on Sunday and Carl is experiencing some health issues). Additionally, we wish to thank the folks from Mars Hill Charity Riders that made the trip to the State House on the original date (02/26/09) and had the persistence to return on March 4th.
All in all, the day was a wonderful success in that we were able to meet with a large number of legislators and let everyone in state government know that we are paying attention and will remain vigilant in our effort to advance the causes of motorcyclists. This would not be possible were it not for the dedication and commitment of our volunteer officers, members and staff.
This is a long session so they don’t have to finish until the end of April (there is always the possibility of a special session) so a lot of things can happen, good or bad, in the remaining 7 weeks. We will continue to work our issues through the end of the session and into the next until we are satisfied that we have met our objective.
We reminded everyone that often times it is not the original shot that scores, but rather the rebound that puts points on the board. If we intend to win the game, we must be poised to get the rebound and make it count. That is exactly what we plan to do.