House Republicans successfully advanced their top priorities before the legislative session concluded late Wednesday.
Lawmakers passed legislation providing a funding boost for K-12 schools, strengthening Indiana’s workforce, attacking the opioid epidemic and increasing government efficiency.
Legislation providing an increase in funding for K-12 schools would account for a higher than expected increase in enrollment at traditional public schools. This increase would be in addition to the $7 billion Indiana spends on K-12 education annually.
Currently, $1 billion is being spent on 30 workforce programs annually across nine state agencies. However, Indiana’s workforce shortage continues to persist. Legislation would re-evaluate workforce-related programs using return-on-investment metrics enacted in 2017. The bill would also match Career and Technical Education students with local businesses and encourage students to complete training in high-demand fields. The legislation also doubled the funding for workforce training grants to better connect Hoosier workers with high-demand, high-wage jobs.
House Republicans passed two pieces of legislation to help combat the growing opioid epidemic by expanding substance abuse and treatment options, and streamlining licensure and credentialing for mental health professionals. Nine additional opioid rehabilitation centers around the state will be established to ensure no Hoosier is further than an hour-long drive from treatment. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, there was a 52-percent increase in opioid deaths from 2015 to 2016.
To further reduce government bureaucracy, House Republicans passed two bills in order to streamline local and state government operations and reporting requirements.