We asked, you answered, we drafted the proposals. Over the 2015 interim, the Senate Democratic Caucus sought your input on what legislation should make the cut during the 2016 Legislative Session.
Over the course of the interim, thousands of people participated by casting over 16,000 votes for the nearly 250 bill proposals submitted by everyday Hoosiers. Senate Democrat legislators then took the top three vote-getters and addressed those issues head-on.
The top three topics submitted by and voted on included legislation dealing with education funding, marijuana reform, and redistricting– the way by which district boundaries are set for elections.
Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane introduces the Citizen Bill Draft project results before other members of the Indiana Senate Democrats discuss the top three ideas submitted.
Watch as members of the Senate Democratic Caucus talk about their efforts to keep your issues at the forefront of the legislative process.
Idea #1: Outlaw gerrymandering
“The practice of gerrymandering has been abused by both parties to the detriment of the voting public. We should choose our elected officials, not vice-versa. Follow the models of California or Arizona and use a commission, not the legislature to implement census changes.”
Gerrymandering is defined as an act by which legislative boundaries are designed to favor one political party over another. To mitigate instances of gerrymandering, Senate Democrats have long been in favor of establishing a non-partisan redistricting commission to draw district boundaries. Learn more about legislative efforts and the push by Senate Democrats to ensure district lines are drawn more fairly.
Idea #2: Make medicinal marijuana legal for all Indiana patients
“This bill would give rights to patients willing to take alternative medicines, i.e. medicinal marijuana, to treat any and all ailments. This bill should also allow scientific research on the properties, both mental and medical, of the marijuana plant. This bill will allow patients access given by a board-approved doctor, from government granted dispensaries. The patient could also have access to grow up to 6 plants per square foot. These laws are very similar to other states with medicinal marijuana laws. This bill is to simply introduce state rights to the use and research of medicinal marijuana.”
State Senator Karen Tallian has led the effort on marijuana reform for the last 5 years at the Indiana General Assembly. Watch below and learn more about how she addressed this issue to include proposals from the Citizens Bill Draft calling for a lift on laws barring research on medical marijuana.
Idea #3: Education funding should not be optional
“Funding for public education is a must. Schools making choices to stop providing bus services for students is unacceptable.”
The Senate Democratic Caucus have and will stand with our public schools, teachers and students by advocating for additional funding in the state’s two-year budget. Over the last few budget cycles, Statehouse Republicans have increased funding for charter schools and the state’s controversial voucher program, leaving our public schools behind. Listen to Senate Education Committee Member, Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) talk about Senate Democrats’ efforts to ensure public schools and students receive the money they need.
Throughout the rest of the legislative session and beyond, Senate Democrats will continue to work towards common sense solutions to the issues most important to Hoosiers. Thank you to all those who participated in our Citizen Bill Draft forum and, as always, we look forward to hearing your proposals on how to best serve Indiana.