This week marks the halfway point of the 2016 legislative session Legislators will spend the week finalizing which bills will go to the opposite chamber, thus moving them into the next phase of the legislative process.
The House and Senate must pass any bills originating in their chamber by Wednesday if the bill is to continue in the legislative process.
Here are the bills we’re watching this session and where they stand at this halfway point:
This bill establishes a state issued scholarship aimed at recruiting more people to teach in Indiana. Every year 200 college students would receive The Next Generation Hoosier Scholarship, which would award students $7,500 a year over four years if they attend an Indiana university, receive a teaching certificate and commit to teaching in an Indiana school for five years after graduating. High school students from Indiana that graduate in the top 20 percent of their class or score in the top 20 percent on the SAT or ACT are eligible.
One notable change to the bill as it moved through the House was with an original eligibility requirement. The original version of the bill said the state would grant the scholarship to high school seniors.
After a current college student testified to the House Education Committee that it should be open to students already committed to teaching, language including students already at a post-secondary institution was added.
This passed through the House and is already on the Senate’s docket for the second half of the session.
This bill allows school districts to increase salaries for teachers in hard-to-fill teaching spots (STEM subjects or Special Education, for example), without consulting the teacher’s union. This is one proposed solution legislators are posing to attract and retain teachers, but unions have spoken out against the bill.
They say by not putting all teachers through the same collective bargaining process, they will pit teachers against one another. This has passed through the House Education and Ways and Means Committees, but still needs a second and third reading on the House floor before it would move to the Senate.
This bill covers a variety of issues related to the ISTEP+. One provision creates a committee of legislators, educators and various community members to discuss the statewide assessment and whether the state should adopt a new version of the test in two years.
The original version of the bill called for a re-score of the 2015 ISTEP+ tests, but an amendment shifted that decision to the State Board of Education.
Both the House Education Committee and Ways and Means Committee advanced it, so it must get a second and third reading from the full House to move over to the Senate.
This bill addresses teacher raises and provides new criteria a teacher can meet to get one. Some of those new provisions include teachers teaching dual-credit classes, as a way to retain a teacher or completing college credit in the field they teach.
This bill needs a third reading before leaving the Senate.