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February 2021

Helping Hoosier Students Get Ahead

Last year brought sudden changes for everyone, and as many professionals transitioned to remote working because of COVID-19, so did Hoosier students. For some, this was not an easy adjustment. While necessary steps were taken to keep our children and educators safe, schoolwork became difficult as students switched between e-learning and classroom environments.

A recent study completed by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes showed the average Hoosier student lost 129 days of reading knowledge and 209 days of math knowledge, as a result of COVID-19 disruptions. There is no doubt schools are going to need extra assistance to help students get back on track.

House Bill 1008 would establish the Student Learning Recovery Grant Program to help students experiencing learning loss due to the pandemic. This proposal would create a $150 million grant program to provide individuals or organizations resources to help students this summer who have fallen behind in class, scored below academic standards or are at risk of falling behind. By providing the tools necessary help close learning gaps, this grant program could provide additional support for students on their journey to get the most out of their education.  

The Indiana Department of Education, along with the State Board of Education, would determine program criteria for grants. Applying organizations, which could include local schools, colleges or universities, community or philanthropic organizations, and prospective, current and retired educators, would be required to submit a plan detailing the programs that would supplement a student’s regular coursework. The DOE would be responsible for overseeing the grant program.

Click here to learn more.

Targeting IN’s Health Challenges

According to the United Health Foundation’s 2020 American Health Ranking, Indiana falls near the bottom in numerous health categories, including smoking rates, obesity rates, and multiple chronic conditions. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic made the public health disparities Hoosiers regularly face even more apparent.

To help more Hoosiers lead healthier lifestyles, House Bill 1007 would establish a new public health grant program aimed at providing funding to address multiple public health issues around the state. The Indiana Department of Health would administer these grants, prioritizing new and existing proposals that focus on tackling chronic health issues such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

The proposed grant program, IN It For Health, is based on Indiana’s successful Safety PIN program, which provides funding to local health organizations to reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate. Last year, through the Safety PIN and other programs, Indiana reached a record-low infant mortality rate for the first time in the state’s history.

To learn more about House Bill 1007, visit iga.in.gov.

Supporting Local Law Enforcement

This session, House Republicans are working on legislation to support local law enforcement, and boost accountability and transparency in policing.

House Bill 1006 would require full employment record sharing between police departments to identify bad actors, provide additional flexibility to the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board in order to address significant officer misconduct, and require de-escalation training for new recruits and current officers.

House lawmakers are also committed to investing in improved training programs and much-needed facility upgrades at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, which hasn’t been updated since the 1970s.

Indiana’s public safety officials risk their lives to protect local communities, and they need the tools to continue keeping Hoosiers safe. Key supporters of the proposal include the Indiana State Police, Indiana State Police Alliance, Indiana Fraternal Order of Police, Indiana Sheriff’s Association, Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, Hoosier State Press Association, Inc., the Indy Chamber of Commerce and the Public Defender Commission. 

From improved training to increased accountability, these enhancements would help Hoosier police officers better serve and protect their communities.

House Bill 1006 passed out of the House of Representatives unanimously. The legislation now heads to the Senate for further consideration. To learn more, click here

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