INDIANAPOLIS — The five proposals Hoosier lawmakers will consider at the May 14 Indiana General Assembly special session now are available to view online.
Visitors to the Legislature's website at iga.in.gov can read each measure, compare it to the version pending when the regular legislative session expired at midnight March 14 and review an analysis of its financial impact prepared by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency.
All five proposals will begin in the House on the special session day. If approved, they'll go to the Senate which must pass them with identical language to advance to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to be signed into law.
House Bill 1315 addresses school finance; House Bill 1242 and House Bill 1316 generally harmonize Indiana tax law with recently enacted federal tax changes; House Bill 1230 increases funding for school safety improvements; and House Bill 1457 makes technical corrections to the Indiana Code.
"We are committed to conducting this one-day special session in an open and transparent manner, giving the public and each lawmaker an opportunity to review the legislation and legislative procedure well before May 14," said House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.
The Legislative Council, a Bosma-led panel of chamber leaders, will meet May 7 to finalize special session procedures and possibly consider amendments to the proposals.
Perhaps the most controversial item is House Bill 1315. It would further sideline the already powerless elected trustees of the Gary Community School Corp. by making them merely an advisory board to the district's state-appointed emergency manager and put Ball State University in charge of Muncie Community Schools.
State Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, said Northwest Indiana residents should contact Bosma and Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and tell them that proposal should not be allowed to come back to life "like a vampire draining the blood of the democratic process of self-determination."
"There is a disenfranchisement when an outside person makes the important decisions while elected officials are powerless to fulfill the duties of their offices," Smith said.
"This situation is absolutely unacceptable. The Republicans are insensitive to the plight of the urban community and do not know how to run schools effectively."
Long said the legislation is necessary because children attending Gary and Muncie schools for years have suffered due to consistent financial mismanagement by the local school boards.