Ledbetter: Moving into the second half

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Monday, February 22, 2021

My colleagues and I are hard at work discussing legislation that will move Indiana forward. We have now reached the point referred to as "halftime" in our state legislature, where bills voted out of the House and Senate swap chambers for further consideration. During the first half we passed a number of bills supporting our law enforcement officers, helping students combat learning loss and providing more educational options for Hoosier children.

Backing our local law enforcement, and boosting accountability and transparency in policing is a top priority this session. I co-authored legislation that would provide additional flexibility to the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board to address significant misconduct, and require de-escalation training for new recruits and current officers. House Bill 1006 would also require full employment record sharing between police departments to identify bad actors.

I also supported legislation aimed at closing learning gaps many students are experiencing due to the pandemic. According to a recent study completed by Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes, some students have lost 100-200 days of learning due to the continuous disruptions from COVID-19. House Bill 1008 would create a grant to help combat learning loss in students who have fallen behind in class, scored below academic standards or are at risk of falling behind. Our budget proposal would invest $150 million in this program to help organizations implement programs that get students back on track.

Every student should have access to high-quality learning options. In Indiana, state education funding follows the child to the school they attend. House Bill 1005 builds on the work of a 2011 law establishing Indiana's Choice Scholarship Program, and would eliminate financial barriers by providing 90 percent tuition support for every qualifying family and increasing the income threshold. Additionally, this proposal would also establish Indiana Education Scholarship Accounts, which would provide eligible families funding to directly pay for tuition or education-related expenses at an Indiana school. This could be extremely helpful for families who have students with disabilities. I have witnessed  a number of instances where traditional public schools have had to pay for a child who has a disability to attend another school better suited to meet their education needs. This proposal would provide parents whose child has a disability access to critical specialized learning options to help their student succeed.  

There's a lot of work left to do in the second half of session as we continue to move bills through the legislative process. All of the bills I mentioned are now being considered by the Indiana Senate. For more information about these bills and others, visit iga.in.gov. It is a pleasure to serve all Hoosiers of House District 75. Please reach out regarding legislation and other issues important to you, your family and our community at h75@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9769.

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State Rep. Cindy Ledbetter (R-Newburgh) represents House District 75, 
which includes portions of Pike, Spencer and Warrick counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.