State lawmakers are again gathering at the Capitol for the 2021 legislative session in order to continue working on issues that matter most to Hoosiers. While this session is unique due to steps being taken to keep everyone healthy and safe, I remain committed to being your voice at the Statehouse. Over the next several months as we consider new laws, I am dedicated to supporting policies to ensure Indiana comes back stronger than ever before.
Every two years, we craft the state’s biennial budget. Just like Hoosier families who make budgetary decisions every day as they take care of their immediate needs and plan for the future, lawmakers will make sure Indiana’s budget is fiscally responsible, by continuing to operate within our means, saving for economic downturns and making key investments. Education is our state’s largest investment, and our schools must continue to have the resources they need to provide high-quality education to students. Already, a bill is moving quickly through the process to fully fund all K-12 public school students for the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19.
As they faced a pandemic, schools worked hard to keep students and educators safe, and those challenges remain. Many temporarily shifted to virtual or hybrid learning, allowing Hoosier students to continue school at home. Because state law requires students to be in-person for class to receive full funding, some schools feared they would receive less funding for the school year. Legislation already passed out of committee to ensure public K-12 schools would receive full funding for the current school year despite some students learning virtually. This fast-tracked bill is ready to be considered by the full House of Representatives. I am hopeful this proposal will soon become law, so schools can focus on doing what’s best for students.
One of the best ways to drive student success is through parental engagement and empowerment. Indiana places a premium on school choice, encouraging families to choose the school that best meets the needs of their child. While academics are often the main reason parents choose a school, some make decisions based on social and medical concerns. No matter the reason, when parents choose, students win. Many already benefit from the freedom and flexibility offered by our school choice program, and as chair of the House Education Committee, I am working on legislation to provide these same opportunities to more Hoosier children and families.
Education remains a top priority, and as lawmakers consider these and other policies impacting all Hoosiers, it is important to remain engaged and involved. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more about legislation being considered for new laws this session, and watch committee meetings and session hearings. Your thoughts and input matter. Please contact me at email@example.com or 317-232-9648 to ask questions or share your opinions.
State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91, which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.