Capitol connection: Indiana to write own education standards


Staff report

State to abandon Common Core, write own standards

After falling out of favor with Gov. Mike Pence, the national Common Core educational standards that had been adopted during the tenure of former Gov. Mitch Daniels have now been rejected by the State Legislature



SB 91 would mandate that Indiana set it own college- and career-readiness standards.

Carmel schools had already adopted the Common Core standards prior to their official start date.

The bill was authored by Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Carmel.

All the officials representing Carmel voted in favor of not using Common Core standards. State Sens. Mike Delph, Luke Kenley and Schneider and State Rep. Jerry Torr voted ‘Yes’ on the proposal. State Rep. Brian Braun was excused.

SB 91 now moves to the Senate with amendments.

Bill will limit property tax exemptions for daycares

In a move to head off the possibility that daycare providers would try to eliminate their property tax liability by claiming they are schools, State Sen. Luke Kenley authored a bill to clarify the requirements for an early education provider.



That measure, Senate Bill 158, has now cleared both the Senate and the House after the House unanimously approved it 94-0.

SB 158 requires that a for-profit early childhood education provider must meet the following requirements to obtain a property tax exemption:

● The primary purpose of the facility must be educational.

● The daycare provider must participate in an early education evaluation program that meets the standards of quality recognized under a Paths to Quality program.

● The exemption will be prorated based on the number of children who are four or five years of age.

The bill will be returned to the Senate with amendments

House unanimously approves Lifeline Law expansion

State Sen. Jim Merritt’s, R-Indianapolis, bill to better protect young Hoosiers in alcohol-related and other emergencies passed the House of Representatives by a 96-0 vote.



Senate Bill 227 would expand Indiana’s Lifeline Law by providing legal protections to minors who are under the influence of alcohol and call to report a medical emergency or a crime. It would also allow first-responders to administer Naloxone and similar medical treatments that counteract the effects of a drug overdose.

“Unfortunately, binge drinking among young people – especially on college campuses – is rampant,” Merritt said. “We’re making every effort to discourage underage drinking and alert our youth about the dangers of overconsumption, but there’s always going to be a 17- or 18-year-old who makes a mistake. Our laws need to make it clear that when mistakes are made and lives are at risk, calling 911 is a no brainer.”

SB 227 was amended in a House committee to include a comprehensive study of sexual violence in Indiana. State agencies would investigate how many people fall victim to domestic or sexual violence, reasons the crimes are underreported, and best practices for reporting and connecting victims to treatment services.

According to Indiana University researchers, as many as one in four women experience unwanted sexual intercourse while attending college in the United States, and the majority of sexual assaults involve alcohol.

“Sexual assault is one of the most unreported and tragic crimes affecting young people,” Merritt said. “Serious research needs to be conducted to find out just how severe this problem is among Hoosiers, and how we can correct it.”

SB 227 now returns to the Senate for concurrence.

Bill to help school transportation passes the Senate

A bill co-sponsored by State Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, to give flexibility to school systems facing reductions in transportation budgets unanimously passed the Senate.

House Bill 1062 would allow school corporations that have lost at least 10 percent of their transportation fund levies due to circuit breakers to use money from other funds to pay for transportation through 2016.

The bill should greatly reduce the chance that Hamilton County School districts – most notably Westfield’s – would have to discontinue bus service.

“Maintaining transportation is a big concern for many Indiana schools. Legislators have been working hard to find a solution to the obstacles school corporations face,” Head said. “House Bill 1062 provides necessary relief to struggling school corporations, ensuring they are able to keep buses running to provide safe and reliable transportation for students.”

HB 1062 also extends a current financial relief bill for schools by allowing corporations that lose at least 20 percent of their levies from the circuit breakers to refinance existing debt. This statute expired in 2013, but HB 1062 would extend it through 2018.

HB 1062 now returns to the House for further consideration.

High school students encouraged to enter congressional STEM competition

U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks is encouraging students to participate in the 2014 Congressional STEM Competition.



The competition challenges students to develop a software application or “app” for mobile, tablet or computer devices. The winning app from each district will be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives website at

“The Congressional STEM Competition provides students with a passion for creativity and technology an opportunity to leave their mark on the global mobile application stage,” Brooks said. “I am excited to promote a competition that provides our students a chance to show off the skills integral to the jobs of the future and I look forward to seeing what creative and exciting apps our 5th District students come up with.”

The House App Contest is open to all high school students who live in or attend a high school located in the 5th District. Participants may compete individually, but groups of up to four students may submit entries. If submitting as a group, at least two students must be from the 5th District. Homeschooled students may participate as well.

All students must register through Congresswoman Brooks’ website and must also submit their app on The contest is open now and will close April 30 at 11:59 p.m.

Apps submitted by students will be reviewed by a team of experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics who are selected by Congresswoman Brooks. The apps will be judged on quality, implementation of the idea and demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills.

For more information visit


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