David Schopmeyer said he is always telling Richard Sinders that if he wants to get any of his ideas made into laws he needs to go to the Statehouse and meet his representatives.
Thursday, Sinders finally took Schopmeyer up on his suggestion. Sinders even found that an issue he was eager to get legislation on was already in bill form.
Sinders, who farms and owns a trucking company, met with several state representatives because he said he wants tighter regulation on trucking and farm related activities.
Semi drivers need a certified license to haul loads, but there is a loophole where 16 year olds can operate a semi with a driver's license and a physical with no certification, Sinders said. This loophole works against Sinders in two ways. Sinders said he believes 16 is too young for someone to be driving a semi, 18 is a more suitable age, and the younger drivers lack the knowledge of those with certified licenses.
Schopmeyer, the legislative liaison person for Clay County Farm Bureau and legislation, first introduced Sinders to Cleo Duncan, R-Greensburg and chairperson for the House Committee on Roads and Transportation.
"I think it's too late for this session, but maybe something next session," Duncan told Sinders.
Duncan listened patiently as Sinders explained his point of view. She explained that he should meet with other representatives to make his opinion known.
Sinders said, "She made me feel good because at least I could tell she was listening."
After meeting with Duncan, Sinders had the opportunity to discuss his problems with Vern Tincher, D-Riley, but said that he wanted to save his comments for his Saturday meeting with Tincher at Cracker Barrel.
Sinders said he has been talking to Tincher and a few other local representatives for years and "they could care less."
Another issue Sinders came to address with the help of Schopmeyer and Clay County Farm Bureau President Jack Knust was the use of farm plates versus commercial plates.
Farm plates go on farm and delivery vehicles used by farmers and are not allowed to use outside of a 150 mile radius, Sinders said. However, he has been witnessing trucks delivering out of state items to Indiana with farm plates and vice versa. This hurts Sinders financially he said because commercial plates are more expensive and carry taxes.
Later in the day, Sinders met with Rep. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, and then Rep. Tom Saunders, R-Lewisville.
He once again told Saunders, "I can't get my local representatives to blink an eye at me."
Sinders was once again informed by Saunders, "We can't do anything this session. If you put something in writing to me I'll see what I can do about next session."
As Sinders was beginning to see legislation on his problems might be difficult, he met with Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield.
Cherry told Sinders about Senate Bill 89 which deals specifically with the problem of farm plates versus commercial plates.
As Sinders and his wife, Rita, explained about their issues with younger drivers to Cherry, he told Rita Sinders, "You're asking a lot of this stuff too late in the game."
Cherry said the licensing problem Sinders addressed is well known. He said it has been on the books for 20 years or more. However, Cherry said they can work getting their issues across for session next year.
"Country Farm Bureau is here to help you," Cherry said adding that the Sinders should try and work with them as best they can.