What are your state legislators doing on your behalf? The Indiana House Republicans host a podcast each week to answer this question and talk about what’s happening in your state government. The podcast features one-on-one interviews with lawmakers who highlight new laws, events and other issues impacting Hoosiers.
Every child deserves to thrive and grow, and House Republicans understand that parents are the ones who should be determining where their child learns. In Indiana, families are empowered and have a number of schooling options – including traditional public schools, public charter schools, nonpublic schools, virtual schools and homeschool – to best fit the needs of their child, regardless of where they live or their income. Our state continues to be a leader in school choice opportunities, teacher quality and innovation, ranking third in the nation on the Center of Education Reform’s Parent Power! Index.
A strong education system provides equal opportunities for every student to learn and succeed, and a child’s ZIP code or family’s income should not limit their options. With school choice, families customize their child’s education to ensure they thrive in the right academic environment and learn at their own pace.
Every child learns differently and some schools are better equipped to meet specific health needs, while others offer a completely different learning environment to help students grow outside the classroom. In Indiana, public school funding dollars follow the child, so a student can attend a public school outside their assigned district – the most popular educational choice. Qualifying families can receive a partial scholarship or voucher for their children to attend a nonpublic school.
This ranking reflects the commitment of House Republicans to school choice, and we remain dedicated to offering freedom and flexibility on behalf of all Hoosier children and families. Click here to learn more about your child’s school choice options.
Meet former House Republican interns who are now full-time staff members as they highlight their experience in both roles. Lessons they’ve learned, like showing a willingness to learn and carrying a great attitude, can help future interns get the most out of the opportunity.
Current college sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as recent college graduates, and law school and graduate students are eligible to apply. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience, learn new skills, strengthen resumes, earn college credits and build a professional network while getting paid.
All majors are welcome to apply online for internships in a variety of areas, including legislative operations, communications and media relations, and policy and fiscal policy. Previous political or government experience is not required.
These are full-time internships, taking place Monday through Friday, January through April in 2021, at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.
This month marks the 19th anniversary since tragedy struck our nation on Sept. 11, 2001. During our country’s darkest time, numerous heroes stepped forward to save others at Ground Zero in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. As we take time to reflect on those who lost their lives that fateful day, we can also use Patriot Day to thank and honor our local public safety officers who serve our communities.
When our country needed help, more than 250 Indiana doctors, police officers, firefighters and volunteers answered the call and went to Ground Zero. Of the nearly 3,000 who died that day, 412 were emergency workers. To our first responders who continuously put themselves in dangerous situations, thank you for all you do keep us safe.
At the state level, we are dedicated to supporting our first responders and their families. In fact, several new laws took effect this year to help.
To ease some of the economic strain families face when they lose a loved one serving their communities, a new law increases death benefits for Hoosier public safety officers from $150,000 to $225,000.
The use of dangerous firefighting foam containing “forever” chemicals is now restricted under a new law because they break down so slowly and can accumulate in the environment, potentially causing adverse health conditions in firefighters and citizens, and environmental contamination. These foams can only be used for training and testing purposes if containment measures are in place.
Many Hoosier heroes work behind-the-scenes to aid Hoosiers in unsafe or life-threatening situations. This includes 911 dispatchers who keep callers calm and connect them to help. Under a new law, these emergency workers are now designated as first responders, which helps them access key employee benefits.
This Patriot Day, please take time to reflect on those who lost their lives 19 years ago and use it as an opportunity to show gratitude to our first responders serving today. Our communities are home to everyday heroes watching over our families, responding to life-threatening situations and protecting us.
Help is available for Indiana homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments or are unable to make future payments due to the financial hardships caused by COVID-19.
The Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network supports Hoosiers at risk of foreclosure through Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund, a federally funded program providing mortgage payment assistance to eligible homeowners for up to six months or $30,000.
To be eligible for Indiana’s HHF, Hoosiers must meet the following criteria:
- Be an Indiana homeowner;
- Own only one mortgaged home, and currently reside in that home;
- Be unable to make past-due or current monthly mortgage payments; and
- Meet additional eligibility requirements based on income.
Any questions about meeting income requirements for the fund can be answered at 877-GET-HOPE, where certified IFPN counselors will be available to assist homeowners. Additional questions can be answered on Indiana’s HHF frequently asked questions page.
Indiana’s HHF is also available to homeowners who are current on their payments, but are unable to make future payments or have past-due mortgage payments because of an involuntary employment-related financial hardship.
Hoosiers that cannot make future mortgage payments can apply for assistance here and should apply as soon as they experience an involuntary employment-related financial hardship and are at risk of foreclosure.
Hoosier schools are leading the way in displaying a significant commitment to our service members, veterans, and students and families connected to our nation’s military. Whether ensuring military families can turn to a designated point of contact for assistance or hosting an event so students can honor veterans, House Republicans appreciate the more than 60 Purple Star Schools throughout the state working hard on behalf of our nation’s heroes.
To be named a Purple Star School, schools met these requirements:
- Assigning a point of contact for military families;
- Passing a resolution supporting military students and families;
- Hosting an annual military recognition event;
- Recognizing service members and veterans with a public display; and
- Guaranteeing interviews for service members and their immediate family who meet the minimum job qualifications.
As one of the nation’s most veteran-friendly states, Indiana is dedicated to those who defend our country’s freedoms. From preventing educational disruptions by allowing military families to enroll their children in K-12 schools before moving to phasing in a full income tax exemption by 2023 for military retirement pensions and survivors’ benefits, House Republicans remain dedicated to helping our military families.
Thank you to these Purple Star Schools, their staff and students for supporting our service members, veterans and families connected to our nation’s military.
Hoosiers living outside of Marion County who are struggling to make their rent payments due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic can turn to the Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program for help.
Thanks to $40 million from the federal CARES Act, eligible renters throughout the state can receive up to $500 in assistance for four months, for a maximum of $2,000, to cover past and ongoing rent payments, or late fees. To qualify, Hoosiers must have lost their job or part of their income due to COVID-19, a current household income – including unemployment dollars – less than the household income on March 6 and not received rental assistance from another source.
Anyone unable to make their rent payments should speak directly with their property managers. Landlords need to agree to participate in the program and will have the payments made directly to them. Hoosiers needing assistance can apply at IndianaHousingNow.org, and those who cannot complete their applications online should call 1-844-463-7368.
Indianapolis recently launched its own rental assistance program to help those living in Marion County. It is important to note that as they process the high volume of requests received, applications for the program are temporarily suspended. Click the tenant application link here to enter your contact information and receive notification when applications are reopened. To learn more, visit IndyRent.org.
Homeowners needing help with their mortgage payments can contact 877-GET-HOPE. Hoosiers can also call 2-1-1 or visit 211.org online to connect with a number of resources for food, clothing, mental health services, housing assistance, employment opportunities and child care assistance.
More than $570 million in unclaimed property is waiting to be claimed in Indiana. The state reunited Hoosiers with over $34 million so far this year, but millions more is yet to be returned to rightful owners.
Unclaimed property is any financial asset with no activity from its owner for an extended period of time. That includes wages or commissions, forgotten bank accounts, insurance claims, stock dividends, credit balances, customer deposits or overpayments, refunds and money orders. It does not include real estate, abandoned vehicles or stolen property.
Organizations holding unclaimed property will work to find its owner, but if attempts are unsuccessful they must report the assets to the state listed on the person’s last known address. The state in turn works to reunite this property with its owner via promotional efforts through advertisements, social media, mailings and media coverage.
While the average claim in Indiana is about $1,000, the largest paid this year so far was nearly $1 million. The state distributed more than 33,000 claims this year. They have a list of frequently asked questions about unclaimed property, including how to submit a claim and avoid having abandoned funds. Visit IndianaUnclaimed.gov or call 866-IN-CLAIM (866-462-5246) to see if you or someone you know has any unclaimed assets.
High school juniors and seniors can now fulfill graduation requirements by tutoring younger students.
During summer break, students can experience some form of learning loss, meaning they do not retain some of the lessons they learned the previous school year, but most are typically able to relearn these lessons quickly. However, because students participated in remote- or e-learning due to COVID-19, a recent NWEA report estimates some children could be starting the 2020-2021 school year up to nearly a full grade level behind their peers in some subjects.
To help bridge this gap, schools can implement the Indiana Department of Education’s newly developed Indiana Tutoring Fellowship, which will fulfill the Service-Based Learning Experience under Graduation Pathway Requirement #2.
To be eligible to participate in this program, students must be a high school junior or senior, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and be in good behavioral standing. The IDOE recommends tutoring sessions take place virtually, but if students are permitted to meet face-to-face, social distancing must be followed. Tutors will work with students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Not only will this program help bridge the achievement gap that some students may be facing, but it will also provide high schoolers, especially those considering a career as a teacher, the opportunity gain valuable skills.
House Republicans championed the 2017 law creating Indiana’s graduation pathways, which allows students to pursue opportunities that best meet their education and career goals.
Click here for more information.
Indiana students and educators are facing new challenges as the school year kicks off. There are several online tools now available to help students, parents and teachers get ready.
The Indiana Department of Education offers remote-learning resources, such as information on improving internet access, free computers for income-eligible families, recommendations to keep children healthy, and weekly, at-home challenges to complement schoolwork. The IDOE partnered with Indiana Public Broadcast Stations in the spring to connect families to educational television programing and online resources aligned to Indiana’s academic standards. These programs are still available and can be accessed at PBSLearningMedia.org. Parents can find their local station and TV schedule by visiting IPBS.org.
For schools offering in-class instruction, masks are required for students in third grade and higher, as well as for faculty, staff, volunteers and school visitors. The IDOE offers a guide for families to help students adjust to wearing a face covering. Masks are still recommended for younger students and exceptions are made for medical purposes, strenuous physical activity, eating and drinking.
An NWEA report estimates some children could begin the school year up to nearly a full grade level behind their peers in some subjects due to learning loss over summer break and virtual or e-learning due to COVID-19.
To help, the IDOE encourages schools to implement the newly developed Indiana Tutoring Fellowship, which allows older high school students to tutor younger students. The fellowship fulfills the Service-Based Learning Experience under Graduation Pathway Requirement #2, and allows Hoosier students to learn and demonstrate employable skills.
To participate in this program, students must be a high school junior or senior, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and be in good behavioral standing. The IDOE recommends tutoring sessions take place virtually, but if students are permitted to meet face-to-face, social distancing must be followed. Tutors will work with students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
To learn more about the latest COVID-19 resources for Indiana schools, click here. Parents should also check their local school websites for the most up-to-date information.