University hosts town hall

Multiple education bills proposed

Four state legislators representing districts in Vanderburgh, Posey and Warrick County held a town hall with community members Saturday morning in Forum Two.

The town hall, sponsored by the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Farm Bureau, featured Republican representatives Wendy McNamara, Thomas Washburne, Ron Bacon and Holli Sullivan.

“It’s not an intimidating atmosphere, which I think the constituents appreciate, because they can have a dialogue with us,” McNamara said. “They don’t always get to have that opportunity.”

McNamara said the town hall gave the public the opportunity to fully explain what the concern or issue might be. She also said that when they are fully into session, the bills will begin to reveal themselves.

“Being only a week into session, we don’t know what’s out there and what the issues might mean in relationship to local concerns,” she said.

McNamara, who represents district 76, which includes the university’s campus, said secondary education is one of her focuses for this session. She also said the roads and transportation bill will be the legislature’s number one focus this session.

“That will be the one getting the most information being sent out to the general public about,” she said.

House Bill 1258, which will prohibit universities from banning firearms on campus, will be discussed this session.

“I’ve always been one to defer to the campus, because they know who their population is,” McNamara said. “I believe students should be able to protect themselves, but you’re also talking about a new life situation where a lot people in which the maturity part isn’t always there.”

McNamara said she has not thoroughly reviewed the bill, but would like to have her constituent’s input on it.

McNamara said she is “knocking on wood” for the session. She said she wants to focus on the nuts and bolts of the communities and get rid of burdensome laws.

“Hopefully the committee chairs stick to the promise of not bringing in bills that cause controversy like it has been in the past few sessions,” she said. “We get drawn into those bills that take the attention away from what is really affecting our daily lives and our communities.”

McNamara said she will focus on human trafficking and juvenile issues and believes her mission is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

“I think you will see a lot of those under-the-radar type bills being the common ones this year,” she said.