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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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Johnson County lawmakers to host public meetings

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

STATEHOUSE (June 13, 2019) — State lawmakers representing Johnson County will host two public meetings on Saturday, June 22, to provide a recap of the 2019 legislative session.

The first meeting will take place from 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 1-3 p.m. at the Franklin City Hall, located at 70 E. Monroe St.

“It has always been a top priority for me as an elected official to communicate regularly with our community,” said State Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland). “These meetings are instrumental to ensuring the public is able to speak directly with their lawmakers. Thank you to the Greenwood Public Library and Franklin Mayor Barnett for opening up their facilities for us to use. Unfortunately, Mayor Myers would not allow us to host a meeting at the Greenwood City Hall like we have in the past.”

Burton will be joined by State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin), and both will be available to discuss the legislative session and how new laws could affect Johnson County.

“There was a lot discussed during this year’s legislative session, and many policies will go into effect next month,” Young said. “Johnson County residents are encouraged to attend one of these meetings to learn about new laws. This is also an excellent opportunity to provide feedback on issues that will be considered during summer study committees.”

State Rep. Dollyne Sherman (R-Indianapolis), who was recently sworn in to serve out the remaining term of former State Rep. Dave Frizzell (R-Indianapolis), will also be in attendance.  

“I am eager to meet as many constituents as possible, and learn about the issues that matter most to them,” Sherman said. “There is a lot of work to be done in the coming months, and by working together, we can keep Indiana moving in the right direction.”

Other elected officials have been invited to these meetings.

Those unable to attend can contact Burton, Sherman or Young by calling 317-232-9600 with questions or comments.

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Legislative session wraps up

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

The 2019 legislative session has come to a close, with many proposals already signed into law by the governor. Lawmakers worked hard this session, putting Hoosiers first and passing sound policies moving Indiana forward. I tackled important issues to protect local property owners, support retired public employees and engage students in civics education.

A new law I authored protects property owners from being forced to pay tenants’ unpaid utility bills. In some areas, established ordinances make landlords responsible for utility payments, even when they are not the ones using a service. While most tenants pay on time, some can rack up costly bills. This law requires municipally owned utility companies to bill renters – not the property owners – directly for services like electricity, water or gas, unless the landlord and tenant come to a separate agreement. This can prevent landlords from being unfairly and unexpectedly stuck with high utility bills and late fees, and ensure those who use the service, pay for the service.

Another issue I am particularly proud to have worked on is providing further support to retired Hoosiers. I sponsored legislation to make important improvements to the public employee and teacher retirement funds, like allowing retired members to make partial withdraws from their annuity savings accounts. I also worked diligently to ensure public employee pension members receive a 13th check in 2019 and 2020. This additional check can help close the cost-of-living gap that pensioners often face. Because Indiana is fiscally responsible, we were able to allocate in our biennial budget this additional support to retired teachers, public employees, state excise police, gaming agents and conservation officers who dedicated their careers to serving Hoosiers.

I also sponsored a new law making the United States citizenship test a part of high school government classes. This test can be the same as the one taken by immigrants seeking to gain U.S. citizenship. After studies reveled less than one-third of Americans could pass a similar test, with nearly 90% of immigrants passing the exam, it became clear more must be done to ensure young Hoosiers have a firm understanding of our nation’s government and history. If we hold those seeking U.S. citizenship to this high standard, we should be asking the same of young Americans.

Even though the Indiana General Assembly has wrapped up its official legislative business for the year, I will continue working for you and your family. Sign up to receive my e-newsletter at www.in.gov/h58 to learn more about new laws and be informed about upcoming public meetings soon to be scheduled. I am also available to answer questions or address concerns at 317-234-3827 or h58@iga.in.gov