General Assembly Activities
Thursday, April 25, 2019
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTIVITIES
General Assembly Adjourns Sine Die
Last night the General Assembly concluded their work for the 2019 session. The Senate adjourned first at 10:25 pm and the House at 11:10 pm. To conclude the work in each house was a discussion and vote on HB 1001, state budget. Representative Todd Huston and Senator Ryan Mishler spoke to the increase in K-12 funding and each thanked the educational administrative associations for supporting the educational increases. The Democrats (Karen Tallian in the Senate and Greg Porter in the House) focused on what might have been and issues that their caucuses had asked for but were not in the budget. After the lengthy discussion, the House vote was 67-31 and the Senate passed HB 1001 by a vote of 41-8.
The associations have been told that many programs were not included in the final state budget so that additional funding could be added to K-12 education. That is how the House and Senate leadership could meet the 10 recommendations from our associations. It is important to thank legislators for their efforts to provide school corporations additional funding. Yes, there are issues that are still problematic but it is important to note that K-12 education received 72.6% of the new money in the budget bill when Medicaid and the Department of Child Services are excluded. That is a significant commitment by the General Assembly.
When you remember back to last November, it was reported that any new money during the upcoming General Assembly would go to the Department of Child Services. DCS funding was the priority of the Governor and legislative leaders. At that time, any increase in K-12 funding was in doubt. Then the April revenue forecast was presented, and the total revenues for the next biennium were reduced by $100 million. With all of this hanging over their heads, the legislative leaders found a way to provide $763 million new funding for K-12 over the next two years. The associations have expressed their appreciation to the Governor, and House and Senate leadership, for the heavy lifting it took to get to this point.
Two Bills Died Yesterday
Yesterday, several bills were still unresolved as they entered that last day of the session. Specifically, the associations were watching what would happen to HB 1253, handgun training for teachers, and HB 1034, political subdivision controlled projects. Both of these bills failed yesterday. Regarding HB 1034, IASBO had worked on this bill during the entire session with Representative Jeff Thompson. IASBO and ISBA had supported the original bill which added language to the referendum question when current debt will be retired. The bill was amended in the Senate by adding language we could not support regarding new qualifications regarding referendums. This section of the bill was problematic and eventually it was determined that the bill could not move. We lament the loss of the potential new referendum language, but the other provision would have had very negative connotations to all school corporations.
Review of the 2019 Session
IASBO will be reviewing over 50 bills that passed the 2019 session and provide additional information in future emails. I will provide a summary of the 2019 General Assembly session at the IASBO Annual Meeting after lunch on Friday, May 10.
Thanks to all of you who communicated with your legislators during the past several months. It is invaluable for your legislators to hear from you. Further, it is very important to continue that dialogue now that the session is over. Again, thanks so much for your advocacy.