Two weeks from Monday, we will be in our last week of this legislative session. We have 15 days to get all our state business done before adjourning sine die on April 29.
However, if our congressional leaders in D.C.-who were facing a federal government shutdown-can come to an agreement and pass a budget, I am certain we can get our work done here in Indiana.
One of the items scheduled for discussion this week is actually dealing with the federal government and legislation they passed earlier this year-something referred to as 'Obamacare.' Constituents around the state have contacted the legislature, outraged and asking for a way we can opt out of the socialized health care plan.
The national plan will not only increase the national debt, but it will also raise taxes and put bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions and increase the costs on states. Milliman, an independent actuary, found that the minimum additional cost to Indiana is projected to be $2.9 billion with the likely impact closer t o$3.6 billion over the next 10 years.
Senate Bill 461is a way we plan to address that concern. But Indiana isn't the only state addressing the concern, 40 other state legislatures are proposing legislation to limit, alter or oppose parts of Obamacare.
Another item for discussion-something I expect to see a lot of debate on-is Senate Bill 575. The bill, in its current form, would limit collective bargaining to salary, wages and salary/wage related benefits.
My top priority is ensuring Hoosier students have access to a quality education. Indiana has so many highly effective teachers, but the system cannot be about protecting adults at the expense of student achievement. The legislation is scheduled to be discussed early this week.
Finally, we will be hearing debate on legislation that would provide an early graduation scholarship to students who graduate from high school before grade 12. Students would have to be residents of Indiana, attend publicly funded schools (full-time), meet graduation requirements outlined by the State Board of Education and enroll in a post-secondary institution (2-4 year program) in Indiana.
This legislation goes along with our plan to ensure money follows the student, not the institution, but also give students new options so they can choose an educational path that best suits their needs.
These issues and more are schedule for debate and vote this week, so I encourage you to stay in the conversation and stay up-to-date on the happenings of the legislature.