That means if you want to get your voice heard on key issues, now is the time to act.
In the session's first week, committees moved bills that would:
- Create a state-funded preschool pilot program.
- Ban kids younger than 16 from using commercial tanning beds.
- Create a commission to draw legislative maps for redistricting.
- Let microbreweries sell their products at farmers' markets.
- Develop state-assisted retirement plans for Hoosiers not eligible for work-based plans.
Whether you agree with those bills are not, that's a busy opening week. And there was much more.
Committees also considered but did yet not vote on a bill that seeks to punish individuals who take actions that hurt farmers and legislative leaders introduced measures to cut the property tax on business equipment.
Then of course, there's the proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. That proposal - which if passed this session goes on the ballot in November for ratification by voters - comes with a companion bill meant to explain what the amendment does and doesn't do.
The House Judiciary Committee will take up that issue Monday at a meeting at 10 a.m. in the House chamber.
Other committees this week will consider bills that would increase a cap on a property tax break available to veterans, change the state's child seduction law to increase penalties for some offenders, increase the timing of payments from the state's medical malpractice compensation fund, and require schools to teach cursive writing.
This is the way a short legislative session - a non-budget session that lasts only through mid-March - typically goes. It's fast. Bills can move through the committees and the House and Senate at lightening speed.
And although the short session used to be considered one reserved mostly for emergencies, that sentiment is long antiquated. These days, just about anything is game for a short session. The number of weighty issues on Gov. Mike Pence's agenda alone - tax cuts, preschool, road funding - is evidence enough.
So, if you want to have a say on any of these issues, you should contact your lawmakers now - and it's never been easier.
The first stop is iga.in.gov, the legislature's new web page. From there, you can read bills, watch the session and get contact info for lawmakers.
You can call lawmakers, write them letters and use email. Many of them are active on social media. Tweet @Jim_Banks and you'll likely get a quick reply from the Republican senator from Columbia City. Or tweet @HaleIndy to find Rep. Christina Hale, a Democrat from Indianapolis.
Most lawmakers now have Facebook pages - and whether they are monitored by lawmakers themselves or their aides, you can bet someone is going to read your comment.
But you have to do it soon. By the end of the month, most bills will have moved from the chambers where they were introduced to the side of the Statehouse, where they'll be considered again. By the end of February, most bills will either be nearing passage or death.
So start reading the bills now. Follow your local representatives and senators. Watch the General Assembly online. Check out the fiscal impact statements developed by the Legislative Services Agency to find out how much a proposal will cost to implement.
And tell your legislators what you think.
There's a lot of talk inside and outside the Statehouse about the impact of lobbying and campaign funds. But in the end, nothing is more influential to lawmakers than a voter, a constituent with something to say.
In the absence of that, lawmakers will look elsewhere for guidance. Wouldn't you rather they were listening to you?
Lesley Weidenbener is executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.
The first week of the legislative session may have started with a snow day but that didn't stop lawmakers from getting right to work.