Legislative News

Summary of the 2020 Regular Session of the Indiana General Assembly
by Kathy Smith-Andrew, BCRTA Legislative Chairman
March 23, 2020

Dear Friends,
I have been waiting for a Session Summary from the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, but I have not received one yet.
I also watched the two Session Wrap Up programs on WFYI Public Television. The show is “Indiana Lawmakers”.

The 3/13/20 show featured the four political leaders of the two Chambers, Republicans Senate Pro Tem Rod Bray, (who my daughter dated during her freshman year at I.U.), and Speaker of the House Todd Huston, who was elected Speaker 3 days before the end of the 2020 Session. Longtime Speaker Brian Bosma announced his retirement over a year ago, and he backed Rep. Huston to take his place. Democrats on the panel were Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane and House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta. They mentioned the 15,000 teachers who came to the Statehouse during Organization Day last November, and touted three successful bills which were positive changes for teachers:
SB002 which holds off for two years using the new ILEARN State-wide assessment test to rate teachers and schools.
SB319 which removes PGP? and Extern Requirements (Teachers were ordered in the 2019 session to do a summer internship at a local business or manufacturing plant, so they would understand what skills their students needed to have when they graduated from high school.)
HB1002 This bill is important! It permanently ends using student assessment test scores to evaluate teachers!
There was very little discussion of pay raises. The non-legislator host, Jon Schwantes, was the person who brought it up, saying it had been one of Governor Holcomb’s priorities before the Session began. The two Republicans said it wasn’t a priority at the end of the Session.

The 3/20/20 Show featured two Statehouse reporters with host Jon Schwantes:
Brandon Smith, who works for Indiana Public Media, and hosts Indiana Week in Review and Niki Kelly, who is the Bureau Chief for the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette

Both Niki and Brandon commented on yet another year when teacher raises were promised, but never funded.
They also discussed a successful bill that Education Lobbyists all disliked, but couldn’t stop the passage of the bill because it came out of nowhere at the end of the session. (By the way, this is against Senate Rules, and probably against House Rules too. No subject can be inserted into a Conference Committee Report unless it went through the Committee and the floor discussion of at least one chamber of the Legislature.) It allows Public Schools to share the receipts of their successful tax referendum with the Charter Schools in their district. What is wrong with that? It allows a foot in the door by the Charter Schools to get a portion of that money. It also opens the door for Charter Schools to say, “Unless you share the money with us, we will work against your referendum.”
That’s all for now!
Kathy Smith-Andrew
BCRTA Legislative Chair

Governor Holcomb’s stay at home order – what you need to know
March 23rd, 2020
Indiana Stay-At-Home Order FAQ

Governor Holcomb delivered a statewide address to order that Hoosiers remain in their homes except when they are at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, and for health and safety. Below are frequently asked questions and their answers.
When does the order take effect?
The Stay-At-Home Order takes effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
When does the order end?
The order ends on Monday, April 6, at 11:59 p.m. ET, but could be extended if the outbreak warrants it.

Moving the Primary Election:
Here’s the Direct quote from yesterday’s (3/26/20) Indianapolis Star:
“The Indiana Election Commission on Wednesday OK’d several changes that Holcomb, Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Republican and Democratic leaders recommended at a news conference last week.
“Holcomb signed an executive order Friday* to move the primary election from May 5 to June 2 and asked the commission to make several changes to smooth that process, most notably allowing all voters to cast absentee ballots by mail. The commission also acknowledged doing so could delay election results and asked local election boards to count votes by June 12.
“The Election Commission also agreed to attempt to create a digital system to allow voters to submit absentee ballot applications online, rather than through the mail.
“Visit http://www.IndianaVoters.com to register to vote or to request an absentee ballot.”

I think the newspaper got the website wrong. Shouldn’t it be http://www.IndianaVoters.gov?
*Friday was 3/20/20