Education among lawmakers’ top priorities ahead of upcoming legislative session

INDIANAPOLIS — Statehouse leaders addressed their respective caucuses Tuesday about the issues they plan to tackle next year.

House Speaker Todd Huston said Republicans will primarily address three things next session — improvements to I-65 and I-70, antisemitism on college campuses, and reading proficiency concerns amongst Hoosier elementary school students.

The House Speaker urged lawmakers Tuesday during “Organization Day” at the Statehouse to set a goal of a 95% reading proficiency rate among Hoosier third-graders by 2027. 

”We need to communicate with parents and schools,” Speaker Huston said. “But let’s set that goal. Let’s get that accomplished.”

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said reading proficiency is also a top concern for Senate Republicans. Along with the House Speaker, Bray said the state will look into measures that could ultimately hold more Hoosier third-graders back if they’re not reading at grade level. 

”An awful lot of kids are getting passed on to fourth grade and then we’re not keeping an eye on them to make sure that they’re becoming proficient,” Senate President Pro Tem Bray said.

Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor said that, in addition to education concerns, Senate Democrats will focus on childcare, healthcare, and allowing ballot initiatives in Indiana.

”Hoosiers shouldn’t be forced to live under extremely hurtful and harmful policies without having any way to redact or have a say-so,” Senate Minority Leader Taylor said.

However, when pushed about whether or not ballot initiatives will be allowed in Indiana next session, the House Speaker simply said “No.” 

Reporters also pushed Republican leadership on the 2024 Water Study, and what that could mean for the LEAP District in Boone County. They said more time is needed to analyze the data, and that no decisions have been set in stone. That comes as Tippecanoe County approved a water export moratorium earlier this week. 

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