The Latest: Indiana lawmakers draw special session to close
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Latest on the Indiana Legislature’s special session (all times local):
Indiana lawmakers have concluded their one-day special session by sending a handful of bills to Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Holcomb has pledged to sign the bills into law, including a contentious measure that will further reduce the authority of the Gary school board while allowing Ball State University to take over Muncie schools.
Democrats say the session was an unnecessary face-saving move by majority Republicans who failed to pass several bills in the final moments of this year’s regular session in March.
Other proposals sent to Holcomb make some technical changes to the state’s tax code while also offering a tax break to the asphalt industry. Another bill sought by Holcomb will make an additional $5 million available for school safety improvements.
The session ended before 3:40 p.m. Monday after the Senate gave final approval to the measures.
The Indiana House has approved a contentious school management bill that will allow Ball State University to take over Muncie Schools while further reducing the authority of the Gary School board.
The measure was approved Monday on a 63-30 vote. It was the final bill House lawmakers took up during the special session.
The Senate is set to gavel in a 1 p.m. to consider the five bills the House passed.
Republicans supported the bill because administrators in both districts mismanaged finances.
But Democrats criticized it as hasty and unneeded. They say improvements were made under different school takeover legislation approved last year.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb initially opposed bringing the bill back during special session, calling instead for a $12 million loan for Muncie schools. But he now supports the measure.
A bill making an additional $5 million available for safety improvements was approve by the Indiana House as the first major action taken during what’s expected to be a one-day special session.
The measure was approved Monday morning on a 96-1 vote. The House also approved a bill that made some technical changes to the state’s tax code, while also offering a tax break to the asphalt industry. The Senate is expected to vote on the bills Monday afternoon.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb requested the school safety funding during the regular session. But the measure was among a handful of bills that died amid infighting among majority Republicans as the regular session ended in March.
House Democratic leader Terry Goodin says the $5 million in safety funding is a pittance, amounting to about $7,000 per school.
Indiana lawmakers are set to take action on a handful of bills that died in March during a chaotic close to this year’s regular legislative session.
A contentious schools takeover bill and four other measures are up for consideration in what is expected to be a one-day session on Monday.
The Republican-dominated Legislature is also likely to pass a waiver that would prohibit any amendments from being made. The GOP leaders say proposals have been extensively reviewed.
Democrats argue that provisions thrown into some of the bills on the last night of the regular session have not been properly vetted.
Other bills on the agenda include measures to bring the state in compliance to federal tax code changes and make an additional $5 million available for school safety improvements.