INDIANAPOLIS – Today, the 73rd annual Midwestern Legislative Conference (MLC) ended in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The MLC is a regional affiliate of the nonpartisan Conference of State Governments (CSG), comprised of 11 Midwestern states and four Canadian provinces. State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) attended the conference, where she participated in policy discussions and seminars with colleagues from the United States and Canada.
“Legislative conferences like MLC are valuable tools for legislators to compare and discuss public policy issues that are being formulated across the region, the country, and in this case, the North American continent,” Sen. Tallian said.
Senator Tallian also serves as the Chair of the MLC Midwest-Canada North American Free Trade Agreement Subcommittee. In that role, she led a discussion about trade between the U.S. and Canada in light of the newest pronouncements from Washington on tariffs. Canada is the number one trading partner for the U.S., and is also a very important partner for Indiana.
“With enormous uncertainty surrounding our national trade policy coming from the federal government, states now have a larger and more important role in shaping and upholding trade arrangements with our most reliable trading partners,” Sen. Tallian said.
“It was an honor to chair this committee, and to lead the discussion at MLC earlier this week. The dialogue that took place at the conference was insightful but also demonstrated the difficulties surrounding trade,” Sen. Tallian said.
As noted above, the conference provides opportunities to meet with and learn from others. Senator Tallian was allowed an opportunity to learn about Canada’s industrial hemp economy as well as an opportunity to meet directly with James Carr, the Canadian Minister for Natural Resources.
“Minister Carr and I had a good discussion about how state legislators can help to protect the very special status of U.S.-Canadian relations,” Sen. Tallian said. “Another policy issue I examined in Canada, with a direct impact on the State of Indiana, was the cultivation and harvest of industrial hemp. Canada has been producing and manufacturing hemp products for decades. If and when farmers in Indiana are permitted to grow hemp for industrial use, I hope to use this newly gained knowledge to draft legislation for this soon-to-be burgeoning crop.”