Indiana Legislature Snow Day Should Turn Into Day Online
With a “global warming” front fast-approaching & threatening Hoosiers with snow that could reach nearly 12 inches, followed by subzero temperatures, there’s a significant chance that the first day of Indiana’s legislative session could be cancelled. But that shouldn’t stop our GOP leaders and their peers from working.
Regular working from home (telecommuting) has grown by 79.7% between 2005 and 2012, and our legislature should find a way to keep working by getting creative and using the web. Perhaps it could be a day for doing e-constituent services. Maybe it could be a day of putting out informative content about the session. It could even be a day of highlighting district news and positive stories about how government is working better or last year’s laws are making positive impacts in each legislator’s district.
There is even a case to be made for having legislators approach their official duties in this manner as well. Technology is getting integrated into voting and presenting debate on bills before the respective chambers . . . why not utilize it when it comes to attendance? Now, we understand the need for the state legislature to actually meet in person for certain functions. However, we do believe that our legislators could save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars every year by requiring them to attend committee meetings via teleconference rather than in person. These committee meetings are already streamed live. There is no good reason why the legislators need to be paid a per diem to travel for committee meetings.
In any case, especially as most Hoosiers affected by the storm will get no real reprieve as they have to report for work that day during the extreme weather, it is our hope that our legislature won’t be acting like school kids on a snow day when they have important jobs to do. If our legislature does take the day to work, perhaps we can beat some of the cynicism that exists about government and elected officials. The only responsible thing for the legislature to do is to report to work . . . on time . . . just like the rest of us.
HoosierAccess Editor Derek Trovillion contributed to this post. You can find him on Twitter @derektrovi.
Rob Burgess is a political communications professional who lives and works in the Greater Indianapolis area. The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s), past or present, nor that of HoosierAccess.com. You can find him on Twitter by searching for @rkburgess.