Open for Questions: Your top five questions answered

In December, the Indiana Senate Democrats launched an interactive campaign to learn what you wanted to know about state government. The Open for Questions campaign recorded 136 questions and 3,973 votes were made on those questions.

The five most popular questions and answers straight from Senate Democratic Caucus members are featured below. Thank you to those citizens who participated in this online conversation.

“If the senators work for the people how come we can’t cut their pay or reduce their benefits? Do you think we should start voting on pay raises or benefit packages for you?” -DC from Dyer, IN

“If students who receive voucher money to attend private school are dismissed (kicked out) mid-year and return to the public school, do the private schools return any of the money to the public school fund?” -Paul from South Bend, IN

“As the Indiana population continues to age, what can Indiana legislature do to ensure appropriate care (physical and mental) of its’ older adults living below the poverty line?” -Angie from Indianapolis, IN

“How will the legislature deal with the families who pulled their kids from private schools for one year so they can get voucher money forever thereafter? Is this not “playing” the system? A gold mine for private (religious) schools?” -Brian from Chesterton, IN

“When will a law be passed that prohibits those in public offices from receiving more than one paycheck from the same government unit?” -JLp465 from East Chicago, IN


Senate Democrats’ comments from Feb. 1 “Right to Work” floor debate

Senate Democrats rallied one last time on Wednesday to speak out against the contentious “Right to Work” bill as it gained passage in the Indiana State Senate. With a vote of 28 to 22, House Bill 1001 was sent to Governor Daniels who promptly signed the legislation this afternoon. Click the links below to listen to Senate Democratic Caucus members floor comments in opposition to the legislation. (Read more about events of Feb. 1 >>)

SEN. SIMPSON: “Weeks and months from now I want you to ask yourself this question; Was it worth it?…”

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SEN. SIMPSON: “Right to work is a race to the bottom, it’s a downward spiral…”

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SEN. ROGERS : “There’s a different relationship between management and unions now and we don’t need to interfere…”

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SEN. SKINNER: “I don’t believe for a minute that companies are going to flock to Indiana…”

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Video: Sen. Young prioritizes human-trafficking bill on opening day of 2012 legislative session

Senator Richard Young, Jr., (D-Milltown) discusses legislation now under consideration by the Indiana State Senate to strengthen Indiana’s laws against human-trafficking, particularly as the crime relates to child victims. The legislation is Senate Bill 4.

Senator Young Statehouse Audio Update

This week Sen. Richard Young (D-Milltown) recorded an audio update from the Senate on a bill he has authored Senate Bill 498 which would require a person to be be licensed in order to grow, harvest or deal ginseng.The bill would also compel the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish a harvest season for ginseng. The possession of wild ginseng by a grower, harvester or dealer at any time except the harvest season would be prohibited. Additionally, in accordance with SB 498, ginseng growers would be required to provide the DNR with an annual summary of their cultivated ginseng harvest. Wild ginseng grows naturally in Indiana and is increasingly endangered due to demand and the high market value of the plant’s roots.

LISTEN to Sen. Young’s update:

Transcript of Sen. Young’s comments:

I have authored legislation this session that will help to clarify Indiana’s laws pertaining to ginseng. Ginseng is a wild root that is used in Asian cultures in traditional medicines. Indiana is the third largest exporter of ginseng in the U.S.  In 2007, ginseng sold for about 800 dollars per pound. The price fell to 300 dollars in 2008 and is now about 430 per pound.

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Sen. Young discusses economic growth for IN horse racing and small businesses

This week Sen. Richard Young (D-Milltown) recorded an audio update from the Senate on a report presented to the Indiana Rural Caucus on the state’s horse racing and breeding industry. The economic impact study was conducted by Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

LISTEN to Sen. Young’s update:

Transcript of Sen. Young’s comments:

Members of the Indiana Rural Caucus received a presentation this week on a recent economic impact study conducted by Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the status of horse racing and breeding industry in the State of Indiana. Continue reading