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Rep. Saunders outlines another legislative session

State Rep. Tom Saunders speaks to members of the Henry County GOP Club after the first day of the 2019 legislative session.

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

State Rep. Tom Saunders says it’s hard to believe.

“This is my 23rd session,” Saunders said. “It’s an honor to serve you, and I thank you all for giving me the ability to do that.”

Saunders spoke to members of the Henry County Republican Club last Thursday after attending the first day of what will be a long, budget-adoption session of the Indiana General Assembly.

In an informative and introspective hour of discussion, Saunders outlined what to expect from this session of the legislature. Saunders said Democrats in the House of Representatives have a new leader – Phil GiaQuinta of the Fort Wayne area. 

“It was enjoyable to hear him talk,” Saunders said. “When I was first elected, his father, Ben GiaQuinta was the legislator from Fort Wayne. He was the last World War II veteran to serve in the legislature. I think Phil will be a good leader for the Democrats.”

Saunders also said there are now more women in House chamber “than we’ve had in awhile, which I think is a good thing.”

Yet, one part of the day was somewhat disturbing. Saunders said a group of protesters crossed the line in his opinion when they tried to disrupt a House of Representatives prayer event.

“Everybody has their rights but when you have 700 people offering prayer and then you have protesters at the top – they can have their banners but to use megaphones and lecture us while we’re in prayer is a little out of line and discourteous,” he said. “If we’re supposed to be Christians and they are supposed to be Christians, we all need to get along together.”

“When they have signs out calling on different members to repent and they’re yelling at members during the prayer, I just don’t think that sits well. But that’s how it operates over there.”

Saunders said he will be serving on:

• Local government;

• Roads and transportation;

• Vice Chair of Family, Children and Human Affairs, which Saunders said would focus on foster parents rights and grandparents rights.

• Vice Chair of the Statutory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation.

“Each House member is allowed to file 10 bills. Each Senate member is allowed to file 15 bills, so we could have around 1,800 bills by the time we’re all said and done. The deadline to file a bill is Wednesday, Jan. 10.”

“There’s about $300 million in new revenue,” Saunders said. “It sounds like a lot of money but the governor is committed to giving Department of Child Services, which I agree with him on, and then both caucuses want to give pay increases to school teachers and we’re going to try to make that happen.

Look for more coverage of Rep. Saunders’ talk with the Henry County GOP in an upcoming issue of The Courier-Times.