By State Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis)
The General Assembly has concluded its regular legislative business for the year, and I am proud to have supported and authored various pieces of legislation that will continue to make Indiana a great place to live, work and raise a family.
The most important accomplishment this session was passing our new two-year state budget, which will see an incredible $1.9 billion increase in state funding for K-12 education. This includes a more than $1 billion increase in tuition support for students, a $196 million increase in special education funding, a $5 million increase for non-English speaking learners and $150 million to address learning loss due to the pandemic to ensure our students are set up for success in the coming years.
This funding boost will also provide more money for schools to increase teacher pay and require schools to spend at least 45% of tuition support on teacher salaries.
Additionally, Senate Enrolled Act 1, which I co-authored, provides liability protection to businesses, schools, churches, not-for-profit organizations and individuals for damages if someone is exposed to COVID-19 on their property or during an activity they organized, however this immunity does not apply if the party engages in gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
To hold high-level felons accountable, I authored Senate Enrolled Act 133, which eliminates the drug dealer loophole that exists in current law, and will require them to serve the same minimum sentence as other offenders.
I also introduced Senate Enrolled Act 255, which requires online criminal history providers to maintain their databases effectively in order to accurately reflect expunged convictions.
Lastly, to cut taxes for small businesses, I introduced Senate Enrolled Act 336, which will expand tax exemptions for business personal property by raising the limit to $80,000. This will free up would-be tax money to be reinvested into the businesses' operations.
I am honored to have played a part in passing these important bills into law and look forward to seeing them benefit Hoosiers across the state.
If you have any questions or comments about legislation passed this session, I encourage you to contact me by email at Senator.Freeman@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.