Cherry: Progress made the first half of session

Posted by: Lydia Kirschner  | Monday, March 4, 2019 10:32 am

The Indiana General Assembly reached the halfway point of the 2019 legislative session, with 201 House bills and 218 Senate bills passing out of their original chambers. The House will now consider the Senate’s proposals, and the Senate will consider the House’s proposals. House Republicans made headway on key issues to improve school safety, create career ladders for Hoosier teachers and increase tax exemptions for veterans.

I voted in support of House Bill 1004, which would provide grant funding flexibility for school safety initiatives through the Indiana Secured School Safety Grant Program. Established in 2013, the program has awarded $53 million to school districts across the state to strengthen school security. Through this proposed new law, schools could implement recommendations from Gov. Eric Holcomb’s school safety report and enhance mental health services, safety equipment and technology. More schools, especially small, rural schools, would be able to qualify for these grants and make improvements.

House Bill 1008 is another piece of legislation I supported, which encourages school corporations to implement teacher career ladders. Many educators believe the only way to advance in their careers and earn more money is to become school administrators. Our experienced teachers deserve opportunities to earn more by taking on additional roles mentoring new teachers while staying in the classroom. By incentivizing schools to implement career ladders and mentorship programs, educators can stay in the classroom while earning more.

I authored House Bill 1010 to support the hard-earned benefits and pensions of Indiana veterans. My legislation would implement an income tax exemption for military retirement pensions and increase property tax exemptions for disabled veterans. Hoosier military retirees aged 65 and older can currently deduct up to $6,250 of their pension. Through my legislation, the full exemption would be phased in over four years at four equal increments. Keeping veterans in the state could help fill thousands of open jobs in Indiana. Illinois, Ohio and Michigan currently do not tax military retirement income. To stay competitive with our neighbors, this proposed legislation would align Indiana with other Midwest states, keep our military retirees here and encourage them to help fill job openings.

As session progresses to the second half, the Senate will be considering these House bills and more, while the House will consider Senate proposals. To learn more about legislation moving through the process, visit iga.in.gov. As session continues, let’s stay connected. For questions or input, please call 317-232-9651 or email H53@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) represents House District 53,

which includes portions of Hancock and Madison counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.