Frequently Asked Questions
What are the options for housing?
Housing is the sole responsibility of the intern. Housing opportunities exist around the downtown area, and many places are willing to negotiate short term leases. Many also offer student or government worker discounts. Costs per month vary depending on location.
How is credit given for the internship?
Class credit is determined by the school the intern attends. Students should consult their academic advisors with questions regarding class credit.
Are specific internships given for law or communications students?
The program offers general internships, as well as internships in the fields of media relations, and law and public policy.
General Interns work very closely with the senators and legislative staff. Each intern is typically paired with one or two senators and a legislative assistant to assist with constituent correspondence, legislative research, and preparation for committee meetings and session days. Each intern will also be assigned to a specific committee, where they will take notes and report back to the caucus staff.
-Communications Interns work closely with the Senate Democrat Media Office. These interns gain valuable hands-on experience by writing press releases, capturing and editing video and audio, speechwriting, contributing to social media and maintaining the Indiana Senate Democrat website.
The Legal Intern works primarily with the Attorney's Office drafting legislative resolutions and researching Indiana code. The legal intern will develop working relationships with multiple senators as they provide them with current information about bills and legislation.
The Policy Intern works primarily with the Policy Director researching and preparing informational reports and keeping senators informed of key legislation and amendments as bills move through the process.
What are the hours of work, are interns expected to stay, do they get overtime pay?
Interns typically work 7 hours a day, however there will be days which require interns to stay late. Working over 7 hours in a day will not garner overtime pay. Interns will have prior notice of days extending beyond 7 hours. At the end of session, during conference committees, there may be a Saturday or Sunday in which the intern is expected to be present. This may or may not be paid.
What is the length of the internship?
Interns are invited (not required) to attend Organization Day, which is held in mid-November each year and is the official first day of the legislative session.
Orientation begins in late December or early January. The exact end-date of the internship is different every year, depending on whether the legislature is in a long session or a short session.
Long sessions occur during odd numbered years, and they must end by April 29th. Short sessions occur during even numbered years and they must end by March 14th.
Should a Special Session occur, some interns will be expected to stay to the best of their ability.
What is a typical day in the life of an intern?
There is no such thing as a typical day. However, most days begin at 8:30 a.m. Interns will arrive at their desk and check their email for the day's appointments, events, and/or meetings. Interns are responsible for keeping their members up to speed on the day's calendar of legislation that is scheduled to go before the Senate. Constituent calls and emails keep interns busy during the day along with assisting and supervising pages who help with small tasks. Interns also help to schedule meetings with constituents and various groups who have come to the statehouse to advocate for various pieces of legislation.
What kind of contacts and networking do interns make?
Interns will likely have contact with every member of the Democratic Caucus. Interns also have the chance to work with other legislators, legislative staff and lobbyists.
Do Interns get vacation time?
No paid vacations, sick leave, or time off. There is no such thing as Spring Break in the state legislature! Interns are expected to work Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; however, some days may require interns to stay later. Committees or session may run past 4:45 p.m., especially during conference committee time. Interns will only be paid for the 7 hours a day they work, with 1 hour and 15 minutes for lunch (unpaid). Exceptions may be made for interns who must absolutely be gone for a day however; the intern will not be paid for the time they are not at work.
What are the conditions of work when interns have class, or exams?
School schedules should not interfere with the internship. A Political Science class is offered on Monday evenings which is held in conjunction the internship. When the offered class conflicts with late work, the intern coordinator will advise as to how to deal with the scheduling conflict. Credit for this class as well as registration, is at the discretion of the student's academic institution and advisor.
Will there be opportunities to stay longer?
Interns are expected to stay at least 1 week past the close of session. Some opportunities exist for exceptional interns to stay longer, as interns.
Can family come and visit?
There will be one day devoted to families, called "Family Day," in which the interns will be honored via Resolution on the Senate Floor. Family members are given a tour of the Caputol beforehand. Otherwise, the Statehouse is free and open to the public during normal hours.