Legislative Update: Indiana General Assembly
JANUARY 8, 2010 --- The Indiana General Assembly opened the session on January 5th and ABATE of Indiana had several members present. I want to thank Mike Seiler and our State LINC Director, Mike Meyer, for taking their time to join me at the Statehouse on Tuesday. Opening day is usually more ceremony than substance and not a great deal of heavy lifting is accomplished. ABATE actually had a fairly productive day and spoke to a number of legislators regarding several issues. We were quite visible to everyone as Mike and Mike wore matching ABATE shirts. We have people's attention and they know we are watching.
In the short session (meaning that it is only 30 session days and is to conclude by March 15 as compared to the general session that lasts 61 days and is to end by April 30th) it is often difficult to get much done due to time constraints and limits set on how many bills may be introduced. We are also headed into an election in November of 2010 (primary in May) wherein every member of the Indiana House of Representatives is up for election (as well as every member of the US House). Typically this session is used for "feel good" legislation, to perform a "quick fix" to clean up a recently passed law or in the event of an emergency that simply cannot wait until the general session.
The good news for motorcyclists is that we have taken the issue that we received the most concern about and it is alive and well. We have been working with Senator Phil Boots (Senate District 23 - Republican) and are supporting Senate Bill 31. This would remove the 15 inch limit on handlebar height and allow for bars as high as the shoulders of the rider. I met with Senator Boots on Wednesday to discuss what response he has received. We have not identified any opposition and hope to move this quickly so as to bring an outdated law up to more modern standards. As of today, it has not yet appeared on the committee schedule. We will continue to monitor this and advise as necessary.
The short session moves fast, so stay informed and be prepared to act quickly. Continue to check the website frequently for updates and don't hesitate to contact the office when you hear something or if you have questions.