Senate GOP makes major changes to school tax and curriculum bills


Senate Republicans are making major changes to several priority House Republican bills, including measures on school programs, taxes and vaccination mandates.

Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

HB 1134: School Curriculum Transparency Bill

Among changes to controversial school curriculum Measure: The bill no longer requires teachers to post class materials online by an annual deadline or schools to create parent-led curriculum committees. A Senate committee also reduced the provisions of HB 1134 limiting the promotion of “dividing concepts” and eliminating a way for parents to sue schools for violating the bill.

Teachers gathered at the Statehouse for two consecutive weeks to speak with lawmakers about their concerns.

HB 1002: $1 billion tax cut

House Republicans included a variety of tax cuts in HB 1002 this would ultimately cost the state over $1 billion a year in revenue. And Senate Republicans eliminated them all. Senate leadership is wary of tax cuts this year, citing uncertain economic conditions.

HB 1001: vaccination mandate

And the changes made to the GOP House The COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Bill means that private companies will not be heavily impeded from enforcing these mandates. HB 1001 now essentially preserves the status quo, forcing companies to honor religious exemptions by following federal law. It also allows businesses to require COVID-19 testing up to twice a week – and would allow them to charge their employees for the cost.

READ MORE: Faith, medicine and COVID-19: Why do religious vaccine exemptions exist?

HB 1116: Election Security, Absentee Voting Restrictions

A Senate committee made major changes to a controversial election bill on Monday, eliminating language that would have added a new restriction on absentee voting by mail.

Right now, you can get an absentee ballot for about a dozen reasons. This includes if you certify that you will not be available on election day. A House-approved bill, HB 1116, would have expanded that to require a voter to also be unavailable within 28 days of the election.

A Senate committee amendment removed the new restriction. The measure also pushes back the deadline for counties to add a critical election security measure to their voting machines.

HB 1041: Banning School Sports for Transgender Female Athletes

A Senate committee on Wednesday approved a controversial bill targeting transgender athletes. House Bill 1041 would ban transgender girls from participating in girls’ school sports.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Michelle Davis (R-Whiteland) insists it’s about preserving fairness for female athletes. But critics said it will harm transgender children and does not effectively address equity in sport.

LGBTQ Hoosiers and their allies rallied against the bill at the Statehouse, and lawmakers heard hours of testimony from Hoosiers opposing the legislation last week.

HB 1093: Gap in School Resource Officer Training

Indiana lawmakers are considering legislation that would require all police officers who regularly work in public schools during regular hours to complete basic school resource officer training. This training would include lessons on adolescent brain development, how to interact with students with disabilities and understanding racial bias, among other issues.

But there are police officers working in Indiana schools who have not received this training, and they are not required to do so until they claim the title of SRO, according to Chase Lyday, director of the Indiana School Resource Officers Association. .

Lyday lobbied lawmakers for years to close that loophole. Its latest attempt – House Bill 1093 – defines an SRO as any law enforcement officer assigned to one or more school corporations or charter schools during school hours. Lyday said the legislation would therefore mandate basic ORS training for all police officers inside schools, effectively closing the loophole.

Hoosier Lottery Online Games

A Senate Committee adding a label to a tax bill tuesday this would prevent the Hoosier Lottery from adding online games without the approval of lawmakers.

It comes after a Fort Wayne Journal Gazette report that the lottery was planning to move forward on”iGameswithout legislative action.

The 1989 law that authorized the state lottery is quite broad, giving the Lottery Commission plenty of leeway to add new games without legislative approval. This apparently includes the move to online play.

Lawmakers could put a stop to that, at least temporarily.

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SB 7: Marion County Crime Reduction

A Senate bill that would create a crime reduction pilot program in Indianapolis has moved forward, but it has met with some opposition.

Senate Bill 7 passed the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee 7-2 on Wednesday and will continue to pass the Indiana General Assembly.

This would create a Marion County Crime Reduction Council led by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and involve other downtown Indianapolis law enforcement agencies, such as the Indianapolis Police Department. Indiana State. The council would collect crime data and produce an annual report.

But critics said they wanted to know more about community organizations and law enforcement.

HB 1221: EV charging

An Indiana House bill, HB 1221, would allow businesses such as gas stations to sell electric vehicle charging without being subject to state utility rules. The bill is intended in part to level the playing field between gas stations and electric utilities.

But the Indiana Food and Fuel Association said there isn’t enough demand to make installing EV chargers profitable for gas stations. And they wouldn’t have the ability to recover the cost of chargers from large numbers of customers — something utilities would be allowed to do in pilot programs under the bill.

However, utilities could only recoup these costs for public charging stations. They should also give low-income communities and racially or ethnically diverse communities equal access to charging stations installed under a pilot program.

While some solar advocates support the bill as a whole, an amendment gives them pause. The amendment requires companies that sell electric vehicle charging to obtain their energy from their local utility.

HB 1157: supervision of the cantonal syndic

A House committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would create a removal process for township administrators.

SB 304 was heard by Rep. Chris Campbell (D-West Lafayette) — who himself introduced legislation creating oversight of township budgets (HB 1157). She voted against the bill – noting that the removal process it creates uses the courts, and the courts are already used to remove public officials who have violated the law.

SB 407: Long-Term Home Care Reform

Indiana’s Agency for Social and Family Services and state lawmakers are at odds over how best to reform state home care for the elderly.

Over the past year, the FSSA has been working on a plan to help older people in need of long-term care receive these services – such as physiotherapy or home help – at home, rather than in a nursing home. retirement.

The plan originally proposed by the FSSA had five elements: making eligibility faster; link payments received by health care providers to patient outcomes; moving long-term services and supports from a fee-for-service system to a risk-based managed care system; create an integrated data system that connects providers, patients, and facilities to the state; and developing and maintaining the workforce.

But now an FSSA spokesperson says a proposed bill — Senate Bill 407 — will render efforts to reform the system futile.

HB 1214: Sealing evictions

A Senate committee on Wednesday introduced a bill that would seal deportation records in some cases.

Tenant advocates have long argued that eviction cases can serve as a permanent ‘scarlet E’ that hurts a tenant’s chances of securing housing in the future – even if an eviction case against them is ultimately rejected.

HB 1214 moved quickly through committee after Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Peru), the author of the legislation, introduced an amendment. The amendment made changes to the wording of the bill, including a segment that would have linked several requirements to eviction diversion programs.

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