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Johnson County lawmakers highlight resources for Hoosier workers, employers impacted by COVID-19

Monday, April 6th, 2020

TATEHOUSE (April 1, 2020) – Johnson County lawmakers encourage Hoosier workers and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic to access recently expanded state and federal resources for help.

Under Indiana’s temporary “stay-at-home” order, many businesses deemed not essential have laid off staff or cannot pay employees while they are shut down. To help, Gov. Eric Holcomb expanded unemployment coverage to those impacted, including Hoosiers whose work hours were reduced, those under medical quarantine and employees who cannot continue to work because of lack of child care options.

“While we are taking steps to slow the spread of this virus, life does not stop and continues to move forward,” said State Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland). “Hoosier workers and business owners are getting some relief now to bridge financial gaps they may be facing. I continue to pray for our community and state as we navigate these unprecedented times.”

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Hoosiers should file for unemployment insurance if their employment has been interrupted or ended due to COVID-19, and their claim will be evaluated. Individuals must apply for UI benefits online, using a computer or smart phone at Unemployment.IN.gov. For questions, the state asks Hoosiers to review the Frequently Asked Questions, the Claimant Handbook or the online video tutorials before calling the 1-800-891-6499 helpline, which continues to experience a high volume of calls.   

“Hoosiers are understandably anxious about the major disruptions this pandemic has caused to our health and financial security,” said State Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford). “Expanding benefits at this time is essential to ensuring we have what we need to face the uncertainty.”

Indiana waived the one-week waiting period for payment of unemployment benefits, and it is retroactive to March 8, 2020. Qualified claimants can typically receive benefits for up to 26 weeks, but this has been extended by an additional 13 weeks.

State Rep. Dollyne Sherman (R-Indianapolis) said thanks to the action of the federal government, unemployed workers who file and are approved will see an extra $600 per week for four months.

“The hardships our state and nation are currently facing are tough, but temporary,” Sherman said. “This help for Hoosier workers and employers from Indiana and the federal government is important to keep our economy afloat and prepare businesses to return to normal operation when the time comes.”

State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin) said small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and nonprofits can receive up to $2 million in low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration‘s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses, which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The loan interest rates for small businesses and nonprofits are 3.75% and 2.75%, respectively, with terms up to 30 years.

“If you need assistance, help is available now,” Young said. “We are fortunate our state is in a financial position to provide critical support to Hoosiers to help navigate this public health emergency. Our communities are tough, and they will persevere during these difficult times.” 

He said businesses’ merit rate/tax rate will not be impacted if they lay off employees due to the coronavirus.

For more information and to apply for a small business loan, visit SBA.gov/disaster. Hoosiers can also contact 1-800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov with additional questions.

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House honors Burton for 32 years of service in General Assembly

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

Members of the Indiana House of Representatives at the Statehouse Monday honored State Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland) for his 32 years of serving House District 58.

“Serving our community and the state of Indiana has been a great honor,” Burton said. “For me, it has always been about the people in Johnson County. Their voice has been the driving force behind every decision and vote I have made, and it has been a privilege representing them at the Statehouse.”

Burton will finish out his term through the Nov. 3 election.

During his time in the House, Burton’s passion for helping others – especially children – led him to champion legislation supporting students with dyslexia, establishing bullying prevention programs in schools and increasing accountability in the child welfare system.

“Woody has been a tremendous friend over the years,” said State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin). “His drive for making Johnson County and Indiana the best place to live and work is admirable, and his voice at the Statehouse will be sorely missed.”

Thanks to Burton’s efforts, Hoosiers now have the option to choose the “In God We Trust” state license plate at no extra cost. He was also instrumental in passing numerous laws supporting property tax relief, creating transparency within homeowners associations and providing a 13th check for public employee pensions.

“Representative Burton has been a true public servant who always put his constituents first, and is tremendously active in his local community,” said House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis). “I appreciate Woody’s strong faith and passion for helping our state’s most vulnerable, especially those in the child welfare system. While his leadership will be missed at the Statehouse, I know he will continue helping his neighbors in Johnson County.”

Burton serves as the chair of the House Financial Institutions Committee and is a member of the House Education Committee and House Judiciary Committee.

He and his wife, Volly, reside in Whiteland, and have three children and six grandchildren.

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State Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland) (left) joins House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) (right) at the rostrum in the House Chamber on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, at the Statehouse. It is tradition for legislators retiring from the Indiana House of Representatives to help lead floor proceedings during session. Burton is retiring in November after 32 years of serving in the General Assembly.

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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