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Legislative session off to a fast start

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

The 2020 legislative session kicked off this month, and we are hitting the ground running. This year is a short session, so lawmakers must conclude our business by mid-march. Already, several bills are moving through the legislative process, including two proposals supporting students, teachers and schools.

During the first week, I voted for legislation that would limit any potential negative impact of student scores on educators and schools during the transition to a new statewide test. We also considered a proposal that would empower local schools to determine how student exams are used when evaluating teachers. Both of these bills are now being considered by the full House of Representatives. These are timely issues as schools recently transitioned from ISTEP to ILEARN, and I know conversations surrounding student assessments and teacher evaluations will continue throughout session.

I am also working on several other proposals, including one that would provide students access to affordable dental care, and another that would build on a law I authored last year ensuring property owners are not left on the hook for renters’ unpaid utility bills. Visit iga.in.gov to learn about all the bills being considered for potential news laws and to follow the legislative process. 

This year is bittersweet because this will be my last legislative session serving as state representative for our community.

I recently announced I will retire in November after fulfilling my current term. Serving our community over the last 31 years is one of the greatest privileges of my life. My top priority has always been and continues to be doing what’s best for the citizens of Johnson County, and working together to make Indiana the best state to live, work and raise a family.

Together, we have helped Hoosiers – especially children – across the state by supporting students with dyslexia, establishing bullying prevention programs in schools and increasing accountability within the child welfare system. Without people in our community bringing their concerns to my attention, we would not have been able to address these critical issues.

As I complete my final year as state representative, I remain committed to keeping you and your family informed. Throughout session, I will continue providing updates to our community through multiple avenues, including my regular e-newsletter, which you can sign up to receive at www.in.gov/h58. Questions and feedback on potential new laws can also be emailed to h58@iga.in.gov, or give me a call at 317-234-9447.

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Johnson County lawmakers to host public meetings Saturday

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 7, 2020) — State lawmakers representing Johnson County will host two public meetings on Saturday, Jan. 11, to discuss the start of the 2020 legislative session.

State Reps. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland), Dollyne Sherman (R-Indianapolis) and John Young (R-Franklin) will discuss proposed legislation and answer questions from local Hoosiers.

The first meeting will take place 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Greenwood Public Library, located at 310 S. Meridian St. The second meeting will be from 1-2 p.m. at Franklin City Hall, located at 70 E. Monroe St.

“Communicating with our community continues to be my top priority,” Burton said. “Now that we are considering proposals for new laws, I want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. This year, we will be addressing many topics, from education and health care costs to improving government efficiency.”

The 2020 legislative session began Jan. 6 and must conclude by mid-March.

“As the legislative session begins, I remain committed to keeping the southside informed on critical issues impacting the state,” Sherman said. “These meetings are one of the best ways to provide updates to the community and hear directly from local residents.”

In addition, Young will host another meeting from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Trafalgar Town Hall, located at 2770 W. State Road 252. 

“With legislation already being discussed at the Statehouse, it is important to stay up-to-date on potential new laws,” Young said. “There are multiple avenues to provide input on bills, and these meetings are a great opportunity for us to have an open conversation. I hope to see many community members at the meetings.”

Other elected officials have been invited to these meetings.

Johnson County residents can contact Burton, Sherman or Young by calling 317-232-9600 with questions or comments.

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Over $3.6M to fuel Johnson County road improvements

Saturday, October 12th, 2019

Johnson County communities were recently awarded over $3.6 million in state matching grants to accelerate road and bridge improvements, according to area lawmakers.

This local funding is part of the nearly $100 million recently awarded to Indiana cities, towns and counties through the Community Crossings Matching Grant program, according to State Reps. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland), Chris May (R-Bedford), Dollyne Sherman (R-Indianapolis) and John Young (R-Franklin).

“Indiana continues to maintain its reputation as the Crossroads of America through strategic investments like the Community Crossings Grant program,” Burton said. “These funds are dedicated to helping communities make progress and complete local road and bridge projects.”

As part of the program, Johnson County received $1 million for local road projects. In addition, several communities in the area were awarded grants, including:

  • Bargersville, $999,750;
  • Edinburgh, $639,075;
  • Greenwood, $874,130; and
  • Princes Lake, $166,816.

“So many of our public roads are in rural areas,” May said. “Preserving our local infrastructure saves everyone time and money, and makes all of us safer.”

This grant funding can be used toward road and bridge preservation, road reconstruction, intersection improvements, guardrail replacements and signage. Smaller municipalities must provide a match of 25% in local funds, while large communities must provide a 50% match.

“As our community continues to see increased construction on state roads, these grants are critical to improving our own local infrastructure,” Sherman said. “Maintaining the integrity of our roads and bridges will help ensure motorists remain safe.” 

Since 2017, state road investment is up 50% as Indiana has dedicated $3 billion to road and bridge projects across the state.

“This is a significant investment in our area,” Young said. “With these grants, our local governments can continue improving our roadways, while still funding other community priorities.”

More information about the program and recipients can be found at www.in.gov/indot.

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Johnson County lawmakers seek applicants for paid Statehouse internship

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

STATEHOUSE (Aug. 23, 2019) – Johnson County lawmakers invite local college students and recent graduates to apply for the Indiana House Republican Internship Program, which takes place during the 2020 legislative session at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Local legislators seeking interns include State Reps. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland), Dollyne Sherman (R-Indianapolis) and John Young (R-Franklin).

Burton said local college and graduate students, and recent graduates should apply before Oct. 31.

“This internship is a one-of-a-kind experience,” Burton said. “Our interns are in the House Chamber, covering the legislative process every day. There are countless opportunities to apply skills, learn more about Indiana laws and build a professional network. Many complete their time at the Statehouse with a full-time position lined up.”

According to Sherman, the internship program is a unique opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience and apply skills in a real-world setting. She said the paid internship is full-time and takes place during the spring semester.

“Employers value and look for the skills job candidates gain through programs like this,” Sherman said. “The Indiana House Republican internship sets applicants apart from others, and connects young professionals with leaders in private and public sectors.”

Young said internship positions are open to college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate students and recent graduates of all majors. Students can apply for internships in a variety of areas, focusing on legislative operations, communications and media relations, policy or fiscal policy.

“We have had many talented individuals from our community intern at the Statehouse,” Young said. “Their experience as an intern helped jumpstart their professional career. Every college student and recent graduate should apply for this internship.”

Positions are full-time, Monday through Friday, lasting from January through mid-March. Interns receive biweekly compensation of $750, and can earn academic credit through their college or university. Interns are also eligible to apply for a competitive $3,000 scholarship to use toward undergraduate and graduate expenses.  

More information about the Indiana House Republican Internship Program and the application can be found at www.IndianaHouseRepublicans.com/internship.

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Burton’s bill protecting property owners signed into law

Monday, July 1st, 2019

STATEHOUSE (June 26, 2019) – State Rep. Woody Burton’s (R-Whiteland) legislation protecting property owners from being held accountable for their tenants’ unpaid utility bills was recently ceremonially signed into law by the governor.  

Burton’s new law requires municipally owned utility companies to bill renters directly for services like electricity, gas or water, unless the landlord and renter come to a separate agreement.

“While most renters pay on time and in full, some can rack up several months’ worth of unpaid bills,” Burton said. “In the past, local ordinances required property owners to be billed directly for electricity, gas and water bills, which tied the hands of landlords. This law ensures the person using the service, pays for the service.”

Burton said outside of a lengthy and costly eviction process, property owners who are solely responsible for utility services have few options to prevent tenants from accruing excessive bills. Utility companies are able to hold customers accountable by terminating services for nonpayment, but according to Burton, landlords can be stuck paying the bill, even if they are not receiving money from their tenants.  

Visit iga.in.gov to learn more about House Enrolled Act 1347.

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