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Senate Advances Budget To Conference Committee

The Senate approved its version of a new two-year state budget 39-9 Thursday.

Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), the budget’s author, praised the bill for not increasing taxes, funding the fight against Indiana’s drug epidemic, and focusing on education issues.

But many Democrats took issue with that last point, including Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington), who says the Republican plan doesn’t fund education enough.

“So if it’s expected that our gross revenue in 2018 is expected to grow by 2.9 percent, then surely education should be funded at least at that increased level,” Stoops says.

But Kenley defended the $7 billion funding for public and private K-12 education.

“That’s a very strong commitment on the part of the government of the state of Indiana to say that we value education highly,” says Kenley.

Democrats also criticized Republican legislators’ unwillingness to amend the budget with some of their legislative priorities, including legislative redistricting reform, raising the minimum wage, and a bias crimes bill.

The budget now moves to conference committee, where the House and Senate will negotiate a final version of the bill.

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