By State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond)
The Indiana General Assembly recently completed the first half of the 2021 legislative session.
The Indiana Senate introduced 411 bills, and of those, 168 were passed by the Senate.
Upon final passage in the Senate, 92% of bills received bipartisan support and 52% received unanimous support.
This session, my colleagues and I have worked to pass several bills in response to COVID-19, including bills that address education funding and safeguarding Hoosier businesses.
The establishment of virtual instruction has been a necessary tool to continue the education of Hoosier students during the pandemic. Senate Bill 2, which I authored, would provide 100% of the state's per-student funding for students at brick-and-mortar public schools who have gone to virtual instruction for part or all of the 2020-2021 academic year, so long as those students weren't already virtually learning prior to COVID-19. SB 2 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and will now be considered by the House of Representatives.
The vast majority of Indiana's businesses and organizations have done a great job maintaining a safe working environment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate Enrolled Act 1, which I co-authored, will protect these entities from lawsuits seeking to make them liable for the spread of COVID-19. SEA 1 will help businesses, organizations and individuals by giving them immunity from civil liability for damages if someone is exposed to COVID-19 on their property or during an activity they organized. SEA 1 has passed the Senate and the House of Representatives, and has been signed by Gov. Holcomb.
To further assist school boards in the coming years, I authored Senate Bill 333, which would require the state board of education to establish a maximum per diem rate for meetings of local school boards. SB 333 unanimously passed in the Senate and will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.
I also co-authored Senate Bill 275, which would create a tax amnesty program to waive the penalty and interest for delinquent taxes. Waiving the interest and penalty fees added on to delinquent taxes would increase the chances for property owners to be able to pay back the funds they owe. SB 275 unanimously passed the Senate and will now be considered by the House of Representatives.
If you have any questions regarding these or other bills we will be considering in the coming weeks, please contact me by email at Senator.Raatz@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.