|From Senator Jean Leising|
|Last week, the Indiana General Assembly reconvened for the 2022 legislative session. |
This year, Indiana Senate Republicans are prioritizing returning money to Indiana taxpayers, stabilizing school funding and responsibly ending the public health emergency.
When Indiana closed out fiscal year 2021, our state’s high reserves triggered an automatic taxpayer refund, which will send $545 million back to hardworking taxpayers and $545 million to state pension obligations. Senate Bill 1 would ensure more taxpayers receive that refund by expanding the number of people who qualify for it.
Next, Senate Bill 2 would ensure schools receive full funding for children who were considered virtual students during the fall of 2021 due to quarantine. State law dictates that schools receive 85% of the regular foundation funding amount for students who receive at least half of their education virtually. This legislation would provide schools full funding for those students who had to learn virtually due to COVID-19.
Finally, several issues need to be addressed through legislation in order for the public health emergency to be ended in Indiana. Senate Bill 3 would ensure Indiana can continue receiving certain federal benefits and hold voluntary community vaccination clinics. At present, those items are made possible through executive orders from the governor.
In addition to these bills, I am introducing Senate Bills 81, 82, 83, and 84.
Senate Bill 81 would require cursive writing to be a part of curriculum taught in schools.
Senate Bill 82would require all students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly referred to as the FAFSA, when they are in their senior year. This bill allows exceptions to this requirement, but I want students to have the opportunity to see what kind of assistance is available if they are considering continuing on to higher education.
Senate Bill 83 would require school boards to provide opportunities for public comment at their meetings. I believe it is very important for parents and the public to be able to speak to their school board and have their opinions heard.
Senate Bill 84would have the Indiana Department of Health to share an annual report on suicide and drug overdose fatalities for each county that have occurred in the preceding calendar year.
These are just some of the bills I have filed, and I look forward to working with other legislators to see what we can do to move forward with these issues.
If you have any questions or concerns throughout the legislative session, feel free to contact me at Senator.Leising@iga.in.gov.
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