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Indiana Lawmakers Have 400 Bills At Session's Halfway Mark

The Indiana statehouse in February 2019.

Bills that didn't clear either chamber could be added into surviving legislation. (Barbara Brosher, WFIU/WTIU News)

Indiana lawmakers are entering the second half of the legislative session with more than 400 bills still alive, including legislation on teacher pay, gambling and hate crimes.

The Senate Appropriations Committee dove into the proposed two-year budget bill during a hearing Monday. The House approved the budget last week along party lines.   

Rep. Todd Huston (R-Fishers) is the bill’s co-author and says the committee ensures they maintain surpluses and sustainable spending levels. The current version of the budget provides $17 billion for K-12 education. 

Huston says the basic budget priorities include promoting workforce initiatives and strengthening the state’s commitment to students and teachers.

"67.6 percent of the new dollars spent in House Bill 1001 go to K-12 education, so we are showing our commitment to K-12," he says. 

The bill allows for strategic investments in the school safety fund, the Department of Child Services, and the state’s teacher residency program.

The committee will continue hearing testimony on the budget proposal into next week.

Another proposal would legalize sports wagering, including on mobile devices.

"What we are doing in this bill would allow us to capture part of that market that already exists," Holcomb said. "I'm not quick to walk away from that."

Another key proposal set for review is a hate crimes law. Gov. Eric Holcomb made a public appeal regarding the bill after the state Senate removed a list of specific protected traits.

Bills that didn't clear either chamber could still be amended into surviving legislation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post said one bill provides $611 million for education. It has been corrected to say that the budget bill provides $17 billion for K-12 education. 

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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