A look at upcoming Senate Bills
After a brief break, the Legislature is back in full swing as the House is debating Senate bills and vice versa. There are numerous Senate bills I am looking forward to monitoring as they travel through the House. Two in particular are Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 189 because they promote quality education and provide a safer environment for Hoosier children to learn in.
As a father of 4 young boys I am always concerned for their safety and well-being. That will never change. When they go off to school each morning, I want to know that our schools have taken every reasonable measure to ensure their safety. SB 1 helps protect our most vulnerable Hoosiers.
It specifies how a school resource officer program may be established and sets forth duties and responsibilities for school resource officers. A school resource officer is law enforcement officer who is assigned to either an elementary, middle or high school in order to help prevent juvenile delinquency. Before an individual can become a school resource officer they must successfully complete the needed training and requirements, in addition to receiving 40 hours of certified school resource officer training.
The bill also establishes the Indiana Secured School Grant Fund. The fund will enable school corporations and charter schools to use financial grants to conduct threat assessments of school buildings, purchase safety equipment and technology and employ school resource officers. Anything that we can do to provide a more secure environment for Hoosier children to attend school and learn is an important step for Indiana.
Senate Bill 105 is another bill that provides greater security and protection for Hoosier children. When confronted with a potential case of child abuse or neglect, any law enforcement employee, judiciary employee, medical doctor, employee of a medical doctor or school official may contact a local office of the Department of Child Services to report the suspected child abuse or neglect. We need to make sure that our laws protect the most vulnerable and get help to children that may need it.
The Hoosier education system can also benefit from SB 189 which would permit the exemption for school boards or school corporations from certain education statutes, rules and guidelines providing they meet certain performance criteria. Recognizing high performing districts and granting greater flexibility to operate will give more control to school corporations to meet the needs of the students.
Lastly, a piece of legislation I am working on is SB 403, which focuses on disabled Hoosier veteran license plates. I am co-sponsoring the bill to provide more veterans with a veteran’s plate. We want to give veterans more access to these plates if they would like them.
Over half of our state’s budget is allocated to education. Investing in the future of our state and ensuring they are safe is a top priority for the Legislature. As these pieces of legislation move through the House, please continue to contact me and let me know where you stand on the issues.