If the Indiana General Assembly gets saddled with a thorny issue that's hard to work out during the hustle and bustle of a regular session, and if the timing is such that it can wait before legislation is enacted, often it's passed along to a summer study committee instead of being voted up or down in its current form during the session. Other times study committees are used to gather background material that will be used in impending issues that legislators know will be coming up in new legislation to consider in the next session.
The long session of the legislature in 2013 will include setting the budget for the next two years. Bob Kraft, Indiana Farm Bureau, says that property taxes and the way farmland is valued for property tax will likely be addressed in one form or another next session. One study committee hearing has already touched on the outskirts of the issue. Kraft expects more hearings yet this fall as legislators gather information and hear from constituents before being put in the position of making key decisions in the chamber during discussion and votes without having full knowledge of the subject under discussion.
Recently, Robert Walmer of Goshert Insurance Agency, testified before a joint study committee of the Indiana House and Senate. He is a certified federal crop insurance agent. His role was to answer questions related to how crop insurance relates to farm real estate values and taxes.
Crop insurance is on everyone's minds this fall since so many farmers will be collecting on policies after a disastrous summer growing season. The impact of crop insurance may be different this year than in other past years.
Walmer was part of a half-day session. He also took his son so that he could experience government in action.