Friday, April 26, 2019
The Indiana General Assembly adjourned this week, concluding the 2019 legislative session. Over the last four months, lawmakers collaborated on legislation aimed at addressing important issues facing Indiana.
Of the 1,344 bills introduced this session, the General Assembly passed 293 of these bills, of which 94% received bipartisan support and 62% received unanimous support upon final passage.
Earlier this year, the Senate Republican Caucus developed its top legislative priorities, which we achieved by passing a variety of bills.
Crafting and passing a two-year state budget that funds the needs of Hoosiers and protects reserves was the top priority for Senate Republicans. This goal was achieved with the passage of House Enrolled Act 1001. This budget continues the trend of maintaining strong “rainy day” reserves to protect our state in the event of an economic downturn.
Due in part to the drug epidemic, the Indiana Department of Child Services is struggling to keep up with the number of children needing services in our state. Therefore, to address this issue, our caucus worked to pass legislation that helps protect vulnerable children. Senate Enrolled Act 1 creates measures to protect these children and responds to the concerns of foster parents dealing with the court system.
Continuing Indiana’s strong support of education was another priority set by Senate Republicans. In the budget, more than half of the state’s General Fund is devoted to K-12 education, which is a higher percentage of funding allocated to education than all but two other states. The budget also continued to put education first by increasing K-12 funding by $763 million. This increase includes an additional $539 million in tuition support, an increase in per-student funding and an increase in Teacher Appreciation Grants.
Protecting schools from violence takes vigilance on the part of every Hoosier. At the Statehouse, our caucus worked hard this session on legislation to improve school safety by making changes to requirements regarding the Indiana Safe Schools Fund and Indiana Secured School Fund. One bill passed this session allows grants through the Indiana Secured School Fund to be used to employ a law enforcement officer. This measure also requires schools to conduct active-shooter drills.
Addressing Indiana’s long-term skills gap was another priority set this session. In recent years, the General Assembly has implemented many workforce-development programs, and, this year, Senate Republicans continued our efforts to improve career prospects for Hoosiers. One initiative implemented this session aims to strengthen high school career and technical education programs, make students and teachers more aware of Indiana’s in-demand careers, and reform adult job-training programs.
For more information on legislation passed this session, click here.