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Senate GOP Priorities: Road Funding, New ISTEP, Vaping Reform

Senate Republican Leadership, led by Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne), center, discuss the caucus' 2017 priorities.

Senate Republican leadership says their caucus’ top priorities include a long-term road funding plan, replacing the ISTEP test and addressing vaping liquid regulations.

On road funding, Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says debate will center on the type and level of tax and fee increases necessary to cover current costs.

In education, the Senate GOP wants to replace the state’s ISTEP test, as does every other caucus. But Senate Education Chair Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) cautions against moving too fast.

“It looks like we’re going to have to keep the test that we have now for another year or two because it takes a couple years to develop a new test,” Kruse says. “And we want to do it right this time, based on our standards.”

Senate Republicans are also emphasizing their effort to reform the state’s vaping liquid regulations. Controversy erupted after recent laws created a monopoly, with hundreds of manufacturers reduced to just seven. Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) will lead the reform.

“We’re going to try and move a lot more towards common sense regulations and not the overregulation that the current statute provides for,” Head says.

The Senate GOP will also seek to address the state’s drug epidemic and reorganize career and technical education funding.

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