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Following the process
Start Date: 1/24/2014Start Time: 8:00 AM
End Date: 1/24/2014End Time: 8:00 AM
Entry Description
The legislative process is an intricate, complex system where bills start as an idea about how to make life better for Hoosiers and eventually end up in our state code. Whether these bills are being read in committee, amended by the House on second reading or voted on in third reading, every legislator is hard at work evaluating, debating and voting on which pieces of legislation should become law in Indiana. 

In my last column, I discussed my role as the chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, but it is only one of three committees I serve on. My other committees are Environmental Affairs and Public Health .  The Environmental Affairs Committee had a busy agenda this past Wednesday as six bills were up for discussion including House Bill (HB) 1217, which I co-authored. This bill creates a single contact point for wetland work permits. 

HB 1217 streamlines the wetland work application process by requiring the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) - whenever contacted by anyone intending to remove an obstruction near a stream or wetland area - to analyze their work. DNR would also be responsible for informing these people if they are required to have a water quality certificate from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), a permit from IDEM for wetland activity or a permit from the director of DNR for their particular task.  If further help is needed, DNR is also accountable for the assistance, monitoring and transmission of certificates. 

HB 1217 passed out of committee with a 9 – 2 vote. Now it will go on to second reading, where the adopted committee report will be read to the chamber. This is also where other representatives have their chance to propose and debate amendments to the bill. The chamber then votes to amend the bill, and if any amendments pass then they are added to the bill. After all amendments have been heard and voted on, the next step is for the bill to go to third reading.
In third reading, the bill is voted on by the House. Before the vote, the bill, in its entirety, is debated. If the bill passes with a majority vote, it goes through the same process in the Senate. If you would like to follow HB 1217 through this process, visit our website at to find details about this bill or watch live broadcasts of upcoming meetings.

Each of these steps in the legislative process upholds hundreds of years of tradition and keeps a balance within our state. Hopefully this quick refresher of how a bill becomes a law will be a helpful tool as you follow the proceedings at the Statehouse this session. Following the status of a bill is not always easy, but it can be a good way to keep up with legislation that is important to you. 


State Rep. Don Lehe serves as Chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. He also serves on the Environmental Affairs Committee and the Public Health Committee. Rep. Lehe represents portions of White, Cass, Carroll, Clinton and Tippecanoe Counties.

Contact Information:
Name: Maggie Johnson
Phone: 317-232-9693
Attachments For This Entry:
    > Following the process
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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