Chyung to introduce legislative reforms, including moving sessions to summer, term limits

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Chris Chyung (D-Dyer) today announced his intentions to seek a series of reforms in the way the Indiana General Assembly does business, including proposals to move legislative sessions to the summer and placing term limits on state lawmakers.

“When I was talking to the people who live and work in the 15th House District, I gained a strong sense from my constituents that they were fed up with business as usual at the Statehouse,” said Chyung, who is in his first legislative session. “What they want is a better sense that the people who represent them have greater accountability to their interests and access to the office.

“What I am proposing is an attempt to find that accountability, while still providing a means to benefit those people who have a strong interest in public service,” he continued.

Chyung said he will pursue legislation to:

  • Change the legislative sessions from winter to summer months. For example, the long session of the Indiana General Assembly would move from January-April to May-August;
  • Put in term limits of eight years for representatives and 12 years for senators, effective in 2024;
  • Increase the moratorium on lobbying in Indiana after retiring from the Legislature from one to five years; and
  • Require stricter financial disclosures of legislators’ interests, including actual dollar amounts of assets and liabilities.

“I believe there is validity in serious consideration of all of these proposals,” Chyung said. “By moving the legislative session from winter to summer months, we can provide a greater opportunity for service for people who often cannot during the winter, such as teachers and of-age students.

“Term limits are a familiar idea, but I believe it is worth exploring because it ensures greater independence from elected officials and less potential reliance upon special interests to impact their work,” he continued. “At the same time, putting a longer lobbying ban in place will help to reduce the revolving door that seems to take place for lawmakers.

“Finally, I always believe that greater accountability and transparency is a must for people in influential positions like the Legislature,” Chyung noted. “If there are potential conflicts of interest, let me them be noted for the public consumption. We should have nothing to hide in these positions.”

Chyung noted that other election and good government reforms are likely to be proposed in the 2019 session, including plans to have nonpartisan redistricting for members of the General Assembly and Indiana’s congressional delegation.

“There is a need for debate on these issues, and I think that the types of reforms I am seeking should be a part of that debate,” Chyung said.

“If it is decided that these concepts deserve fuller debate that makes them topics for additional study during the interim between sessions, then I am agreeable. But these are ideas that should be discussed. I feel the public demands it.”

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