Statehouse Express Podcast – INPEA

Published on February 2nd, 2021

After a week off because threats of violence at statehouses around the country, the General Assembly got back to business last week. Things are starting to gear up as we find ourselves three and a half weeks away from the half way point of the session, or “crossover”. John covers all this and more on this week’s Statehouse Express podcast.


Listen to The Statehouse Express Podcast here!

Here are the bills that were heard or have movement:  
SENATE
SB 54 – This bill is authored by Senator Jean Leising. It would require all seniors in public, charter and choice schools to fill out a FAFSA form.
SB 124 – Authored by Senator Dennis Kruse, this stipulates that the first day of school can’t occur until after Labor Day. The good news is that it only applies to public and charter schools, although it’s certainly possible that someone might try to amend non-public schools into the bill. Senator Kruse has assured me that his intent is that SB124 would not apply to Indiana’s non-public schools.
SB 412 also proposes an ESA while SB 413 proposes the single 90% voucher tier.    

HOUSE
HB 1040 – Deals with sudden cardiac arrest and its training requirements, information that needs to be provided to parents, as well as when a student, who has experienced symptoms can return to physical activities at schools passed out of committee 10-0.
HB 1384 – Proposes a middle school civics education requirement. During the hearing, the author clarified that it didn’t need to be a stand-alone course but could be integrated into an existing social studies course taught at the 6, 7 or 8th grade level. HB1384 will be voted on at a future House Ed committee meeting.
HB 1008 – Establishes the “student recovery learning grant program” As written currently, the fund would have $150 million dollars available to schools and other entities to apply for a grants that address pandemic related learning loss. And Non-Public schools would be eligible to apply. The bill passed out of committee 23-0 and now goes to the House floor for possible second reading amendments. 
Spotlight this week! HB 1005 entitled “School Choice Matters” proposes some of the boldest expansions to the program since 2013. HB 1005 raises the financial eligibility to 300% of free and reduced lunch and makes anyone voucher-eligible the recipient of a 90% voucher. Raising the financial eligibility to 300% will open the choice door to many more families and the single 90% voucher will also make their choice more affordable. The bill also addresses the sibling & foster child fixes and proposes the establishment of a new program, an Educational Savings Account or an ESA. This program is designed to give parents the ultimate control of their child’s education dollars. The bill has a very intentionally focused student impact applying only to students with special needs, foster children and families of active military. 90% of a student’s public-school ADM amount would be placed in a participating students account and would be available for private school tuition and other educational services. 

**For the choice expansion bills to be successful we need our entire community to engage with their elected officials at the Statehouse! We have an action alert posted on our Legislative Action Center for you to send a message to your representative on HB 1005 TODAY! They will be hearing the bill on Wednesday afternoon.
As the legislative session continues to get underway and more bills start to take shape, we’ll keep you as updated as possible and ask for your help where needed.   Thank you for being a non-public school advocate!

Listen to The Statehouse Express Podcast here!