The 2019 legislative session of the Indiana General Assembly finally adjourned. Lawmakers were even able to end a week ahead of schedule, saving taxpayers money! Throughout my first legislative session, I authored or sponsored five laws, the most of any first-term legislator.
House Enrolled Act 1001, our two-year state budget, has been signed into law. I voted in favor of this budget for several reasons. First, it is honestly balanced with no gimmicks, and maintains a surplus with the reserves necessary to keep our state’s AAA credit rating. Second, 50% of our budget is spent on K-12 education, including $763 million in new money. That is a statewide school funding increase of 2.5% each of the next two years. The increase that individual schools receive is based on the number of students enrolled in a school, along with considerations for poverty levels, non-English speakers and other factors.
The budget also helps local communities with the costs of housing Level 6 felons, funds an important new Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Purdue University, and fully covers our expected Medicaid spending for lower-income individuals. This budget does much more than this, so please reach out to me if you have questions. I would be happy to have a conversation about it.
The most high-profile bill I sponsored this session, Senate Enrolled Act 2 on school bus safety, is also now law. Many call it the MAXSTRONG Bill in memory of the three children killed last fall in Fulton County. Mason, Alivia and Xzavier were hit by an oncoming vehicle as they boarded a school bus. While it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus with its stop-arm extended, over 3,000 stop arm violations still occur each day. One solution to enforcing the law against drivers who neglect to stop for school buses is to install cameras on the bus’s stop-arm. Earlier in session, we had to remove some provisions regarding how to pay for stop arm cameras because of opposition. I am happy to report we reached a compromise that allows schools to petition county governments for reimbursement to help pay for the cameras, because the counties receive a portion of the fines from stop arm violations. I believe this law will improve the safety of kids going to and from school.
Over the summer, I will be meeting with many different groups and constituents to learn more about how I can better represent our district. I will also continue developing legislation to be introduced next session. You can expect regular updates about what I am working on as I continue to serve you. Thank you for the opportunity to serve our community and make a difference. As always, it’s your state government, so participate in it!
State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) represents House District 23, which includes portions of Cass, Fulton and Miami counties.
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