INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Eric J. Holcomb on Tuesday delivered his 2020 State of the State address to a joint convention of the Indiana General Assembly. The governor focused on his commitment to bold ideas that will improve the health, safety and well-being of Hoosiers.
“Thanks to the energy, ingenuity and hard work of Hoosiers across our state – and the work we’re doing with them – the state of our state has never been stronger,” Gov. Holcomb said.
As a part of the Governor’s ongoing effort to improve teacher compensation, he recommended the General Assembly use $250 million from the surplus in the next budget to prepay the state’s obligations to the teachers’ retirement fund, which will allow $50 million a year to be redirected to teacher pay. This complements the action Gov. Holcomb took following last year’s State of the State address, when he announced the use of $150 million to pay off a pension liability that schools funded which is resulting in higher teacher salaries in districts across the state. The Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission will make additional recommendations in the spring.
“For all we’re doing to make Indiana stronger, the most important investment we can make is in our most important asset – our people,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Everything we do is aimed at ensuring every Hoosier can take the greatest advantage of their talents, drive and aspirations.”
During the speech, Gov. Holcomb announced the creation of the state’s first Adoption Unit within the Department of Child Services. The unit will bring additional staff into each region whose sole focus will be assisting family case managers with finding permanent homes for children when parental rights have been terminated.
Gov. Holcomb also celebrated accomplishments and focused on next steps for each of the five pillars outlined in his Next Level Agenda.
Cultivate a strong and diverse economy: Operate within the state’s balanced budget, protect our Triple-A credit rating, and triple federal defense investment in the state.
Maintain and build the state’s infrastructure: Make US 31 free flow from Indianapolis to South Bend. Enact a hands-free device law to decrease distracted driving and increase safety. Connect unserved Hoosiers and businesses to high speed internet. Clean our highways with nearly 16 million pounds of litter picked up last year.
Develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce: Invest in all Hoosiers to ensure access to meaningful work and careers. Eliminate unfunded mandates and unnecessary paperwork in K-12. Financially support educators who are working on the requirements to teach dual credit courses. Redesign the Department of Correction education system so more returning citizens can find jobs before release.
Strengthen public health and attack the drug epidemic: Expand OB navigator program to 20 counties. Increase penalties for retailers who sell tobacco and vaping products to underage buyers. Work to tackle health care costs by launching an “All-Payer Claims Database,” making it easier for Hoosiers to access information about hospital pricing and insurance reimbursement.
Deliver great government service: Open the first facility in the country to bring together everything our veterans need under one roof – Veterans Affairs, the DAV, Indiana Veterans Initiative, VFW, and the American Legion. Plant one million trees throughout the state.
Each year, Indiana’s governor addresses both houses of the state legislature, the state’s Supreme Court Justices, and other state leaders at the beginning of the legislative session in the State of the State Address. It provides an opportunity for the governor to report on the status quo of the state’s affairs, highlight key accomplishments of the past year, and outline key priorities for the year ahead.