Senate Dems Plan Amendments In Face of “Controversial” Bills

A deadline is approaching for bills to be passed in the Indiana General Assembly.

Democrats in the Indiana Senate are bringing attention to a few bills they perceive as controversial prior to the deadline. Among those bills is a balanced budget amendment currently being considered.

According to a release from the caucus, opponents of the constitutional amendment say there are already provisions that disallow the state from taking on debt.

State Senator Jim Arnold says there’s a novel way to enhance existing statutes each year.

“It just seems like they bring this forward because they want to make this statutorily mandated, that we have to have a budget balanced, and it’s already in writing,” says Arnold. “We have a few other bills as well that are already active and enforced, but we continue.”

To achieve passage, bills must get a final vote in their respective chamber no later than this coming Wednesday.

Senate Democrats are also calling attention to a few education bills. Included in that list is a bill that would allow private charter schools receiving voucher funds not to take the ISTEP test.

Arnold says the distinction needs to be made between public and private institutions.

“I have felt all along since I’ve been in the General Assembly that if you want to send your child to a private school, that’s fine with me, I have absolutely no problem with that, but you need to fund that,” says Arnold. “Public dollars should be going to public schools and public education.”

Given their minority status in the Indiana Senate, the Democratic caucus says they plan to introduce amendments to the bills that may lessen their “controversial” status.

Arnold says he doesn’t expect many of the amendments to pass at this time.