Legislators back new school safety grants
Indiana legislators have agreed to start a grant program to help school districts hire police officers and buy safety equipment.
The bill was approved Friday by the Senate and a final vote was expected later in the House. The state budget plan includes $10 million a year toward the grant program.
The bill advanced after the Republican-controlled House pulled earlier provisions that would’ve required all public schools to have gun-carrying employees during school hours.
Legislative negotiators established a special committee to study school security issues and make recommendations by year’s end. New provisions in the bill also specify that anyone other than a police officer must have a school board’s permission to possess a gun on school property.
Democrats call GOP-backed tax cut plan a sham
The top Democrats in the Indiana Legislature say the Republican-backed state tax cut plan is a sham that won’t help the middle class.
House Democratic leader Scott Pelath said Friday that the state’s economy won’t benefit much because the 5 percent income tax cut will give little extra money to most people and won’t begin until 2015.
Pelath says the Republican budget plan also shortchanges public schools with only 2 percent and 1 percent increases over the next two years. He says that doesn’t make up for funding cuts made by former Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Senate Democratic leader Tim Lanane says the Republican-controlled Legislature failed to take steps to address the state’s 8 percent-plus unemployment rate and low wages for average workers.