February 25, 2022

Indiana lawmakers still eyeing education bills left with uncertain futures in final weeks of session

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House Education Committee Chair Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) said he isn't optimistic about HB 1072's fate in the Senate, but plans to continue working on it. - Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

House Education Committee Chair Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) said he isn't optimistic about HB 1072's fate in the Senate, but plans to continue working on it.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

The General Assembly left a pair of bills aimed at libraries and school referendum funding with uncertain futures this week, but lawmakers are still eyeing them for next steps before session ends next month.

A bill to remove a library's legal defense for sharing harmful material didn't get heard in the House, and a bill requiring school districts to share referendum funds with charter schools didn't get heard in the Senate ahead of key legislative deadlines this week.

House Education Committee Chair Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) said he ran out of time to schedule the standalone library defense bill, Senate Bill 17, after learning that the identical language included in House Bill 1134 was taken out by the Senate. But he and others remain interested in finding a place for the idea.

"It's eligible for conference committee and has passed out of – clearly passed out of both houses," he said. "We are very certain we will find a home for Senate Bill 17 language."

The author of SB 17, Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville), said he's hoping to add the bill into an existing piece of legislation after receiving support for the measure in the Senate during the first half of the legislative session.

The Senate's calendar for next week shows that Tomes has filed an amendment to add the language to House Bill 1363.

Behning is also considering options for his charter school referendum bill, House Bill 1072. He said he isn't sure what caused it to be taken off the Senate Appropriations schedule Thursday, but is still weighing next steps – like adding the idea to an existing bill before the session ends, or trying again next year.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

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