Education bills Indiana

INDIANOPOLIS – Last week, the Senate heard more than three hours of testimony on the House of Representatives bill 1041, when protesters pre-filled the halls of the State House. This is one of several controversial bills in the State House concerning education in the state of Husier.

The bill prohibits transgender high school athletes from playing in the women’s team. Critics say it stigmatizes and attacks transgender youth, while supporters believe he maintains honesty in women’s high school sports.

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives last month, mostly along party lines. The Senate Committee on Education and Labor Development heard arguments for and against HB 1041, but ultimately did not vote on the legislation. Lawmakers are expected to amend it, and many are unsure of the future of the bill. Committee Chairman Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond) explained why the Senate is addressing these issues.

“Sometimes there are controversial laws that need to be considered where there is a county that believes it is necessary,” said Senator Raatz. “We talked and decided that we would at least consider this bill.”

HB 1041 isn’t the only Indiana school bill to hit the headlines. It is expected that the House of Representatives Bill 1134, which prevents teachers from conducting lessons on certain topics related to race, gender or ethnicity, will also be considered. Some lawmakers are now questioning Senate priorities in the face of problems related to COVID-19 and a lack of training. Speaking to Statehouse reporter Kristen Escoe, State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) shared his concerns.

“Instead of tackling the shortage of teachers, instead of tackling the mental health of students, we are distracted from all these bills moving through the process,” Senator Ford said.

Senator Ford has expressed his opposition to HB 1041, saying it is part of an effort to stigmatize transgender students. He would like the bill to be removed from the agenda of the legislative assembly.

“I am a little disappointed that we continue to promote this bill through the legislative process,” Senator Ford said. “Even the filing of this bill gives a message to trans children that they are not welcome in our state.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Todd Houston is answering questions after his high-profile resignation from the college council. Some question his professional role outside of the Indiana legislature, especially his connection to education. They believe this represents a possible conflict of interest, especially given that bills such as HB 1134 pass through the State House.

“Since taking on the role of Speaker of the House of Representatives, I have been thinking about how best to balance the enormous level of responsibility needed for my essential role on the College Council and as a civil servant,” said Speaker Houston. “Eventually I decided to leave the family board of college.”

His decision has caught the attention of Indiana Democrats, who say it is just another reason why HB 1134 and other controversial education bills should be removed from the agenda.

“Speaker Todd Houston is a walking conflict of interest, and while his breakup with the College Board is good for education in general, HB 1134 is still alive and at risk of running a teacher shortage in Indiana,” said the Indiana Executive Director. Lauren, Ganapini.

See more about controversial bills at the Statehouse in the video above.

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