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1/8/2019 5:41:00 PM
Here's what's on Indiana legislators' and governor's plates for the 2019 session
Statehouse agendas

Here's a breakdown of previously announced agendas for the current Indiana legislative session:

Gov. Eric Holcomb

- Approve a bias crimes law

- Identify resources to increase teacher salaries in the next two bienniums

- Adopt recommendations from August 2018 schools safety assessment

- Require Department of Child Services to implement recommendations from June 2018 report

- Increase K-12 school funding

- Increase number of On My Way Pre-K students by at least 500 pupils

- Expand recovery housing for Hoosiers with opioid disorders

- Provide high-speed internet to unserved areas

- Build out hiking, biking and riding trails

House Democrats

- Improve teacher pay

- Expand pre-Kindergarten program throughout the state

 

- Enact a hate crimes law

- Protect the health care of people with pre-existing medical conditions

- Make it easier for Hoosiers to vote

- Provide a nonpartisan drawing of legislative and congressional districts.

Senate Republicans

- Operational reforms and new funding for Department of Child Services

- Support education

- Improve school safety

- Advance workforce development

Senate Democrats

- Raise teacher salaries

- Protect medical coverage for pre-existing conditions

- Legalize medical marijuana



Scott L. Miley, Goshen News CNHI Statehouse Bureau

INDIANAPOLIS -- Many legislators in both parties and in both chambers at the Indiana Statehouse might agree there needs to be a bias crimes law, fixes to the Indiana Department of Child Services and increases in teacher pay.

Getting there will take months with the current session to wrap up by the end of April.

The final round in presenting legislative agendas came Monday with announcements by Republicans in the Indiana House and by the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, which consists of both state Senate and House members. 

House Republicans focused on education, youth, workforce initiatives and veterans.

For teacher pay concerns, House Bill 1003 encourages, but does not mandate, local schools districts to shift dollars to classrooms. The goal would be for districts to use 85 percent of funding for instructional expenses. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said if all Indiana’s public school corporations met the target, it could provide at least a 5 percent salary increase for teachers.

The Indiana Department of Child Services will annually require an additional $286 million over the next two fiscal years, which Bosma said limits budgetary focus to funding the state’s key priorities, including K-12 education, which accounts for over half of the state’s $32 billion biennial budget.

Bosma said many schools currently spend about 80 percent of state funding on instructional expenses. But some districts' operational costs have soared. House Republicans said that, overall, only $57 of every $100 of state, local and federal resources spent on K-12 education makes its way to Hoosier classrooms.

"There's still some work to do to flush out details, but we're at least at a place where we're having good conversations. It appears they're very supportive and wanting to take some action," Indiana State Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith said.

In response, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said, “House Republicans unveiled an agenda so out of touch, it’s like we’re living in two different states. Statehouse Republicans’ teacher pay scheme is like moving a dollar from your left pocket to your right. It might feel good, but it isn’t having a real impact."

The 13-member Black Legislative Caucus urged study of violent crime and a hate crimes law that defines classifications such as race, gender identity and disability.

The caucus also announced a bill to provide amnesty to Hoosiers who have had their driver's licenses suspended because of unpaid financial obligations.

Related Stories:
• Higher teacher pay in House GOP vision for legislative session
• Teacher pay hike only shared priority for House Republicans and Indiana Black Legislative Caucus
• Indiana legislative session begins with bipartisanship - but it might not last long
• Coalition forms to push for bias crime legislation in 2019 Indiana General Assembly
• State increases for abused children, health care set to drain nearly all of new revenue
• Hate crimes law advocates not fond of bill that doesn't specify protected classes
• Governor's two-year budget proposal grows school funding by $289 million
• IU president endorses governor's push for hate crimes law
• EDITORIAL: Lawmakers should listen to chorus of support for bias crimes legislation

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