The Battles Chosen

Legislative Updates Archive

Statehouse action heads in contentious directions ahead of first critical deadline 

Chalkbeat Indiana’s Scott Elliott summed up recent Indiana General Assembly action best when he tweeted “we’ve had 10 epic clashes just this week.” Indeed, as legislators approach the February 19th committee report deadline many issues are advancing with great controversy and the accompanying headlines.

The education arena continued to provide divisive debate, with SB1 heading for a final vote in the coming week and enabling the State Board of Education to elect its own chair (potentially) in lieu of Superintendent Glenda Ritz. Sunday, February 8th yielded an online #IStandWithRitz protest and public school teachers are expected to have a notable presence at the Statehouse on President’s Day. Fortunately, by the end of the week, the superintendent and governor had pledged to work together to shorten ISTEP.

A Wednesday, February 11th House Public Policy committee hearing on HB1624 (Sunday Sales of alcohol) produced a heavily-amended bill that provides for a seventh day of sales but places significant restrictions on large retailers. While the new version was more palatable to many committee members, co-author Rep. Sean Eberhart voted against the measure due to these concerns. 

As the House continued toworking on a budget for the next two years, testimony concerning the funding formula for career and technical education (CTE) was heard in Ways & Means, with the goal of incentivizing completion and aligning course offerings with workforce needs and market demands. The issue is supported by the Indy Chamber and a priority for both the state Department of Workforce Development and Governor Mike Pence, who recently announced the recipients of $1 million in innovative CTE grants.

Looking ahead, a number of proposals must be heard by Ways & Means due to their potential impact on state revenues. Bills up for this consideration on Monday, February 16th include:

  • HB1273 would expand the Marion County professional sports development area and permit the capture of revenue for a new downtown multipurpose stadium for the Indy Eleven professional soccer team.
  • HB1009 (“Freedom to Teach”) would establish a career pathways pilot program, adding incentives for teachers to assume leadership roles in their learning communities and remain in the classroom.
  • HB1403 regarding the current top Indy Chamber policy priority – the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s (IEDC) Regional Cities Initiative. This bill offers critical support for Indiana’s regional hubs to build places where companies want to locate and workers want to stay through strategic investments in quality of life.

The Indy Chamber continues to be a leader in the conversations surrounding these issues, and your advocacy team is proud to fight the battles of the regional business community.

Join the conversation on Twitter @IndyChamber! For questions regarding the Indy Chamber’s advocacy efforts, please contact Vice President of Government Relations Mark Fisher at mfisher@indychamber.com or 317.464.2291.

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