Banks gets summer study committee spots

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) has appointed State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) to summer study committees that will review issues related to education and veterans' affairs.

During the 2013 legislative session, Banks authored multiple bills that focused on these two topics. He will serve on the Regional Campuses Study Committee, which emer- ged from his legislation, Senate Enrolled Act 98.

This requires the committee to review topics regarding the governance and operation of regional campuses as well as Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne's growth and management.

Banks also said he will serve on the Commission on Education, which will review an issue addressed in another of his bills. Senate Enrolled Act 409 requires the Indiana Department of Education to develop performance standards for teacher education programs, which will then be used to rate these programs.

As part of the bill, the commission will review best practices for evaluating teacher preparation programs and student graduation statistics.

In addition, Banks was appointed to serve on the Indiana Veterans' Affairs Commission. This past legislative session, he authored a law to grant in-state tuition to returning military veterans and current National Guard members as well as a measure to expand disabled veteran license plate eligibility.

He will also serve on the Joint Study Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Assessment and Solutions.

Each summer and fall - when Indiana's part-time legislature is not in session - lawmakers are assigned to interim study committees that meet to review the state's top issues, as identified by the General Assembly during the prior legislative session.

Study committee topics are assigned by the legislative council, comprised of 16 voting members - eight from the Indiana House of Representatives and eight from the Indiana Senate.