Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Legislative Tracker: Education in the 2016 Session

Following up on last year’s “education session,” 2016 looks to be another busy term for lawmakers in Indiana’s General Assembly.

Legislative meetings aside, there’s a lot going on in education right now – some proposed bills even overlap one another. So, to keep things neat and organized we’re compiling an up-to-date, easy-to-read list of the school-related bills we’re following at StateImpact. 

Check out where those measures are in the process – followed by links to the bills themselves and some of our continuing coverage:

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SB 4Sen. Mark StoopsAllows state to assign schools the greater of its 2013-14 or 2014-15 A-F grade for the 2014-15 school year. Mandates ISTEP+ results be used in teacher evaluations for the 2015-16 school year.First readingCommittee on Education & Career Development hearing
SB 9Sen. Jeff RaatzRemoves requirement that charter schools report certain data to the IDOE. First readingCommittee on Education & Career Development hearing
SB 10Sen. Jeff RaatzTweaks factors used to determine increases or increments in teacher salary ranges.First readingCommittee on Education & Career Development hearing
SB 34Sen. Timothy LananeAllows school districts control over its property tax reductions & credits. First readingCommittee on Appropriations hearing
SB 73Sen. Jean LeisingRequires school districts to include reading & cursive writing in its curriculum. First readingCommittee on Education & Career Development hearing
SB 93Sen. Dennis KruseVarious education matters, including requiring ISTEP+ results are delivered in a timely manner and amending disability categories.First readingCommittee on Education & Career Development hearing
SB 147Sen. Phillip BootsRequires establishment of minimum standards and approval of best practices for a school emergency response system First readingCommittee on Homeland Security & Transporation hearing
SB 175Sen. Jean LeisingRequires state to establish appropriate academic standards and curricula concerning health education.First readingCommittee on Education & Career Development hearing
SB 200Sen. Dennis KruseRequires state to assign 2013-14 A-F grade for 2014-2015 school year, if 2014-15 grade is lower. First readingCommittee on Education & Career Development hearing

Source: Indiana General Assembly


Keep up with our tracker throughout the legislative session here

Curious what all that means? Here’s a quick reminder of how a bill becomes a law on the state level (keep in mind, at any step in this system doesn’t happen, the bill “dies”):

(A) PRE-INTRODUCTION: An idea is developed, and a senator or representative decides to sponsor it. He or she drafts a bill, with research and technical help from the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency (LSA).

(B) INTRODUCTION: The representative enters the bill into his or her respective chamber. The only exception here is that bills raising revenue can only originate in the House.

(C) CONSIDERATION: This is where the sausage is made. Chamber leadership calls the bill for discussion.

  • First reading: The bill is read aloud to the entire chamber and assigned to an appropriate chamber committee for review.
  • Committee: The committee chairperson puts the bill up for public hearing, where the full committee hears testimony, discusses merits and pitfalls of the measure, and votes to advance the bill.
  • Second reading: The bill is returns to the chamber it came from for discussion before the entire body. Any legislator in that body can suggest amendments to the bill, which have to be approved by a majority vote. After all approved amendments have been added, the chamber votes to advance the bill as a whole. The chamber may also send the bill back to committee, if they need more information.
  • Third reading: The same chamber now schedules the same bill for a third discussion. This is the same process as the second reading, except that any proposed amendments must be approved by a two-thirds majority. The chamber votes to advance the bill as a whole.
  • Opposite chamber: The bill moves to the other legislative chamber, who then repeats the same process of consideration (first reading > committee > second reading > third reading).
  • Finalizing: The bill returns to the chamber of origin, which must approve or deny any amendments their counterparts added. If approved, the bill moves on. If denied, the bill goes to a conference committee – a group made up of two members from each chamber, one from each political party. Once they reach agreement, the bill returns to both chambers for approval.

(D) GOVERNOR’S ACTION: The bill is presented to the governor, who has seven days to act. He or she has three options: He can sign the bill, in which case it becomes law; He can do nothing, in which case the bill becomes law without his signature; or, he can veto the bill, in which case it goes back to the House and Senate, who have the opportunity to over-ride the veto with a two-thirds majority vote. If both chambers achieve that majority, the bill becomes law.

Keep in mind, even if a bill dies, the language of that bill can be put into another bill (although that’s not guaranteed). That’s why issues aren’t technically considered dead until the session officially ends in April.

Got it? If you want to see other explanations, check out how the General Assembly itself and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce spell it out.


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