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What are your state legislators doing on your behalf? The Indiana House Republicans host a podcast each week to answer this  question and talk about what’s happening in your state government. The podcast features one-on-one interviews with lawmakers who highlight new laws, events and other issues impacting Hoosiers.

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National Hunting and Fishing Day

This year, on Saturday, Sept. 23, the nation will celebrate the 45th National Hunting and Fishing Day. This day recognizes the heritage and tradition of hunting and angling, as well as the historical and current contributions supporting sound, science-based fish and wildlife conservation.

Through purchasing licenses, tags and waterfowl stamps, and by paying excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, motorboat fuel, and other hunting and fishing equipment, sportsmen and women drive conservation funding in the United States. Collectively, these funding sources constitute the American System of Conservation Funding, a unique “user pays-public benefits” system, which this year is celebrating its 80th anniversary. Via passage of the Pittman-Robertson Act, the Dingell-Johnson Act, and the Wallop-Breaux Amendment, this excise tax revenue is apportioned back to state fish and wildlife agencies, including the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Last year, Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson combined contributed $16.5 million, while hunting and fishing licenses brought an additional $19 million to fund conservation efforts in the state.

All Hoosiers benefit from these monies through improved access to public lands, public shooting facilities, improved water quality, habitat restoration, fish and wildlife research, private and public habitat management, hunter education and numerous other DNR projects funded through this system.

Enjoy this special occasion and the vast opportunities to hunt, fish and experience the great outdoors. For more information on fishing and hunting in Indiana, click here.

More information on National Hunting and Fishing Day is available at www.NHFDay.org or on the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation website at www.sportsmenslink.org/policies/federal/ascf.

Streamlining government

State Rep. Doug Gutwein, chair of the House Select Committee on Government Reduction, is working with Accelerate Indiana’s Municipalities and the Association of Indiana Counties to help identify burdensome or obsolete state reporting requirements for local governments.

Using a web-based survey, local officials are asked to submit information on state reporting requirements and provide recommendations on whether they should be revised, simplified or eliminated. The deadline to complete the survey is Oct. 31.

While many of these processes improve accountability and transparency at the local level, other requirements could be in desperate need of revision or repeal.

The House Select Committee on Government Reduction has helped repeal nearly 2,000 lines of Indiana Code. It has also contributed toward the elimination of over 70 government boards and commissions, totaling more than 600 appointments.

This easy-to-use survey is a part of the General Assembly’s continuing efforts to streamline government processes, while also reducing the regulatory burden on Hoosiers, local governments and businesses. The data collected will be used to draft potential legislation for the 2018 legislative session.

Remembering 9/11

Monday marks the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Nearly 3,000 lives were taken in the morning hours of 9/11, including nine Hoosiers who were working in the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon.

Just 16 hours after the collapse of the Twin Towers, 277 Hoosiers stepped foot onto Ground Zero to help in recovery efforts. Doctors, police officers, firefighters, mental health counselors and many more from Indiana bravely helped their fellow Americans.

Let’s remember the role all the brave first responders played on Sept. 11, 2001, and continue honoring those who dedicate themselves to protecting us.

As a way to pay tribute to all the victims of the attacks and to show the American spirit, consider donating blood. In the wake of the recent hurricanes and the summer blood supply shortage, the Red Cross needs donations now more than ever. Click here to learn how to save a life.

Please take a moment to reflect on what was lost that September morning 16 years ago.

We will never forget the courage shown on 9/11 and how our country stood up in the face of evil.

May God continue to bless America.

Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship

Scholarship applications are now open for future Hoosier educators!

The Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship is designed to attract Indiana’s best and brightest to enter the teaching profession. Recipients will receive up to $7,500 per year of college, but they must commit to teaching in Indiana for five years after earning their degrees. The scholarship is available to up to 200 students each year.

To qualify, students must either graduate in the top 20 percent of their class or earn a score in the top 20th percentile on the SAT or ACT. While attending college, students must earn a 3.0 cumulative GPA and complete at least 30 credit hours per year to continue earning the scholarship. See the full list of qualifications here.

Those interested in applying need to be nominated by a teacher and submit the nomination form to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The Commission is accepting applications now, so please get your materials ready in order to meet the Nov. 30 deadline. Students may apply at ScholarTrack.IN.gov.

Authored by House Speaker Brian Bosma, the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship was established with bipartisan support by the 2016 Indiana General Assembly.

To all of our educators, thank you for your commitment to our students. For those just beginning their teaching careers, we look forward to seeing you grow as a professional while contributing to the success of our future generations.

Helping Hurricane Harvey victims

Rain is expected to continue throughout the week in parts of Texas and Louisiana, meaning the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey are far from over. Although we are many miles away, there are several ways Hoosiers can get involved and help storm victims.

The easiest way to contribute to the cause is to give money. Donating things like clothing or food aren’t always as helpful as monetary donations that guarantee trained organizations like the American Red Cross and Salvation Army can get resources to the victims in need.

Monetary donations can be made safely online or through direct texts to these well-established organizations:

The Red Cross and Salvation Army need volunteers to help with shelters for people that fled the coast. The Red Cross is also expecting blood supplies to be very low as the blood banks and collection centers on the shoreline were forced to close paired with an increased need from injuries. To donate, find a location near you.

Efforts are also being made to rescue animals from the flooding. Donations to help Texas animal control can be made to:

Natural disasters are often unexpected and leave little time for planning or evacuation. Any donation will make a difference to someone in need.

While Indiana is known for lifting up those in need, it is important to be skeptical before giving money to less credible organizations. The Indiana Attorney General is warning all Hoosiers that the aftermath of a natural disaster is a hotbed for scammers. Any Hoosier with plans to donate should also take steps to avoid falling victim to scams targeting those who want to help victims.

 

Walking to promote heart health

Approximately 2 in 3 adults and 1 in 3 children in America are overweight or obese.

The solution for achieving better health can be simple. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, help manage stress and quality of sleep, and improve overall health and well-being. Thirty minutes a day, five days a week is an easy way to achieve this goal, but if you can’t make enough time, something is always better than nothing.

To help you meet your fitness goals this fall, the American Heart Association is hosting five Heart Walks in Indiana as part of its Healthy For Good initiative to reduce risks for heart disease and stroke.

Here are the upcoming Indiana Heart Walks:

  • Indianapolis Heart Walk on Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Indy Eleven Stadium, 1001 W. New York St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
  • Lake County Heart Walk on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 889 S. Court St., Crown Point, IN 46307
  • Northeast Indiana Heart Walk on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Ivy Tech North Campus, 3800 N. Anthony Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46805
  • Porter County Heart Walk on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Coffee Creek, 2601 Village Point, Chesterton, IN 46304
  • Lafayette Heart Walk on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Tippecanoe County Amphitheater, 4449 N. River Rd., West Lafayette, IN 47906

Whether you are working toward better health, honoring a loved one’s experience with cardiovascular disease or supporting the promise of a better future for younger generations, these are great events to participate in. If you can’t make it to a Heart Walk, fall in Indiana is the perfect time to get your family and friends outside before winter temperatures arrive.

To learn more and register for an Indiana Heart Walk, click here.

Season for exploring

Fall is one of the best times of year for Hoosier farmers. After months of hard work, they can finally see the fruits of their labor during harvest time.

This means a wide variety of local farms and orchards will soon be open to explore. From picking out a pumpkin to enjoying some fresh-pressed apple cider, there’s fun for everyone in the family.

To find a local farm offering tours near you, Indiana Tourism and the Indiana Department of Agriculture have teamed up to put together the Indiana Agritourism Guide and the Indiana Brewery & Winery Guide.

More than 80 percent of our state is farmland, forests and woodland, so it is clear that agriculture plays an important role in Indiana’s economic development.

In addition to visiting local farms, you can support Indiana farmers by buying locally grown products in your neighborhood grocery store. Just look for the Indiana Grown label to support local producers while you’re grocery shopping.

Next Level Jobs

Hoosier job seekers now have access to new resources to find better-paying jobs thanks to the recently launched Next Level Jobs initiative.

While Indiana’s unemployment rate is near record low, employers in high-need, high-wage fields are searching for qualified workers. To meet immediate and future workforce demands, the state introduced a new website and two new grant programs.

The website connects job seekers with local training and resources to find jobs in high-demand industries. While a two- or four-year degree isn’t for everyone, Workforce Ready Grants cover the costs of tuition for working adults earning a high-value certificate at Ivy Tech or Vincennes University.

According to the Department of Workforce Development, 1 million job openings are expected by 2025 and, of those, about 400,000 are in high-wage, high-need fields. These industries include advanced manufacturing, agriculture, building and construction, health and life sciences, IT and business services, and transportation and logistics.

To help employers in these industries train and retain workers, the new Employer Training Grant will provide up to $2,500 per new employee to qualifying companies.

Over the next two years, these grant programs will provide roughly $20 million to help Hoosier workers and employers meet workforce demands.

Information and applications for both grants can be found online at nextleveljobs.org.

Honoring Hoosier farm families

With the Indiana State Fair comes recognition of one of our state’s best assets. More than 80 farms are being honored with Hoosier Homestead awards.

The Hoosier Homestead Award Program recognizes farms that have been owned and maintained by the same family for 100 years or more. Since the program’s inception in 1976, more than 5,000 families have received the Hoosier Homestead Award.

Reaching the milestone of owning a farm for more than a century and contributing to Indiana’s $31 billion agriculture sector deserves recognition. These farms support our local and state economy, and we appreciate the families that are committed to feeding Indiana and the nation.

Two award ceremonies are held each year, in the spring and summer, to commemorate the achievements of farmers across the state. For more information on the Hoosier Homestead Award Program, visit the Indiana State Department of Agriculture website.

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