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[r29] Column: Halftime in the General Assembly
Start Date: 3/4/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 3/4/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Halftime in the General Assembly

With the halfway point behind us, session will change gears with the House now hearing Senate bills and vice versa. Many bills that passed through the House are critical components to addressing real concerns facing Hoosiers. We have continued to focus on our main priorities: the biennial budget, job opportunities, and education. 

In my last column, I focused exclusively on House Bill (HB) 1001, the House’s version of the biennial budget. Our financial blueprint for Indiana focused on protecting Hoosier taxpayers, prioritizing education funding, preserving and enhancing vital services, shielding the vulnerable and maintaining a stable fiscal environment necessary to grow the Hoosier economy. 

The state’s number one commitment is education – over half of the budget is allocated to K-12 and higher education. This is the most important investment in our state’s future. A pre-kindergarten pilot program for low-income students is also funded. HB 1004 establishes a two-year pilot program in five counties for four-year-olds to attend a high-quality preschool. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, Indiana is one of 11 states that do not offer state-funded pre-kindergarten programs. As a result, only 39 percent of Hoosier children (ages 3-4) are enrolled in preschool. Only 6 states have a worse percentage of children not attending a preschool.

Numerous studies have shown the vast impact that early education provides for Hoosier children. This pilot program is a step in the right direction to ensure every Hoosier child is bound for success at a young age.

Another main focus of this year’s agenda is bridging the skills gap, so Hoosier job-seekers can fill jobs currently available in Indiana. House Bill 1002 establishes the Indiana Career Council and provides a forum for greater collaboration between public and private stakeholders in vital industries like life sciences, military/veterans, higher education, workforce development and business. The governor will serve as the chairman to the council.

The structure of the bill will provide guidance in developing job skills and career training systems. It will share data and coordinate all the elements of the workforce development efforts within the state and local governments. The bill passed out of the House with unprecedented bipartisan support. Speaker of the House Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) authored the bill with Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) co-authoring. The bill will be sponsored in the Senate by both Republican and Democrat leaders as well. 

As the 175 of our House bills move to the Senate and the 216 Senate bills comes to the House, stay engaged in the political process and let me know where you stand on the issues that matter most. The House and Senate will work together and bipartisanship will continue to be a priority. 

-30-
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@iga.in.gov
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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