The state budget gets derailed near the end of session. Controversial legislation on books in schools heads to the governor. And statewide elected officials are getting a big raise.
Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.
As lawmakers prepared to wrap up the 2023 session, things got off track over concerns about education spending in the state budget. Ultimately, Republicans put an additional $300 million dollars into K-12 spending to quell those concerns. The final version of HB 1001 dramatically expands the school voucher program, allowing families of four earning up to $220,000 a year to access taxpayer funds to help pay for private education.
And language added to the budget without public debate or discussion will give statewide elected officials salary increases in 2025 of anywhere from 39 to 60 percent. The governor’s salary – the highest of those officials – would go from about $134,000 a year to nearly $200,000.
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Republicans approved legislation that requires school districts to establish a process for parents and community members to file challenges to books they consider inappropriate. The language from SB 12, which stalled in the House during the second half of the legislative session, was added to HB 1447 during conference committee. Supporters say it’s meant to address pornography in schools. Democrats argue it’s meant to target books about race and LGBTQ+ themes.
Find all the bills our statewide team is covering in our bill tracker at ipbs.org/projects/2023billtracker/