INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WEHT) House Republican lawmakers declared victory on their top 10 priority bills today as they wrapped up the 2019 legislative session.
House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said the passage of a $34 billion balanced two-year state budget topped the list with a record increase in new K-12 education funding.
“This session marks a historic win for rural, urban and suburban public schools as lawmakers worked hard to increase our commitment to K-12 education by $763 million in new state dollars,” Bosma said. “We passed an honestly balanced state budget that funds the state’s priorities, maintains prudent reserves and protects our AAA credit rating. Together with our Senate colleagues and Governor Holcomb, we closed out a successful session ahead of schedule.”
House Republican priorities included passing a balanced state budget, increasing protections for Hoosier youth, strengthening the state’s commitment to students and teachers, better aligning workforce initiatives and supporting Indiana’s veterans:
House Enrolled Act 1001, the state budget proposal, maintains prudent reserves while providing a historic increase in K-12 public education by investing $763 million in new funding over the previous state budget. Lawmakers included $37.5 million per year for Teacher Appreciation Grants to reward effective and highly effective educators. The budget also includes a $150 million payment to an unfunded pension liability for Hoosier teachers, providing an estimated $70 million in annual savings to school budgets. Bosma said lawmakers strongly encourage schools to direct their savings to increasing teacher pay.
House Enrolled Act 1002 promotes early and continuing career exploration and navigation, reinvigorates career and technical education courses and encourages completion of certifications or postsecondary credentials. In addition, the bill prioritizes funding for workforce programs with proven results and provides additional flexibility for schools to partner with employers to establish work-based learning opportunities.
House Enrolled Act 1003 strongly encourages schools to shift more existing and future dollars to Hoosier classrooms by setting a target for public schools to spend at least 85 percent of state funding on instructional and classroom expenses.
House Enrolled Act 1004 builds on Indiana’s already strong school safety policies by implementing recommendations from Gov. Eric Holcomb’s school safety report to improve physical security at schools and mental health resources for students.
House Enrolled Act 1005 moves up the appointment date of the school superintendent of public instruction to 2021 from 2025.
House Enrolled Act 1006 implements necessary reforms for the Indiana Department of Child Services in order to improve outcomes for the state’s most vulnerable children. The bill includes reducing family case manager caseloads and allowing foster youth to receive services and participate in independent living programs into their early 20’s.
House Enrolled Act 1007 aims to engage more at-risk expecting mothers in early prenatal care, and requires medical providers to give verbal substance use screenings to pregnant women to improve and increase referrals to addiction treatment.
House Enrolled Act 1008 creates new professional growth and advancement opportunities through teacher career ladder models.
House Enrolled Act 1009 provides critical support for new educators by creating residency programs to pair new teachers with mentors in the classroom.
House Enrolled Act 1010 phases in a 100% income tax exemption for military retirement pensions.
(This story was originally published on April 25, 2019)