Last week was the deadline for state lawmakers to propose legislation to be considered in this year’s session. We take a look at some of the proposals and what they could mean for you. All proposals have been referred to committees for review.
IREAD-3: Students would take the reading evaluation in second grade, instead of third grade.
School referendums: Public questions to voters on school building projects or proposed tax increases can include details about the changes for property taxes, which will be reviewed by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.
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State standards: State education standards would revert to what was used before 2009, and students would continue taking the previous version of the ISTEP exam until new standards are adopted.
Measuring teachers: Annual teacher evaluations also would consider student growth throughout the school year as a measurement for each teacher.
Limiting testing: The state board of education must recommend ways to reduce the number of standardized tests students take.
Emailing students: Emails between students and teachers or other school employees must be copied to the student’s parents and the school principal. Emails must be saved for two years, and any teachers or staff who don’t follow the rules can be charged with a misdemeanor.
TAXES/LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING
Food and beverage tax: One proposal would allow Greenwood to approve and collect a local food and beverage tax, which could be spent on reducing property taxes, economic development, public safety or parks. Another proposal would allow all cities and towns in Indiana to approve and collect a 1 percent food and beverage tax.
E-cigarette tax: The state would charge a tax on e-cigarette sales.
No Internet tax: The state and local governments would not be allowed to charge a tax on Internet service.
Road funding: More money would be put into one of the funds used to pay for local road projects.
Mass transit: Sets aside $120 million for mass transit over two years.
School funding: Sets aside $100 million per year for school transportation funding, and $200 million per year to help schools make up losses to property tax caps.
Tax exempt: A county can make a certain area 100 percent exempt from personal property taxes, which are charged on equipment owned by a business.
Annual report: Businesses that receive incentives must submit an annual report to the state, including the number of jobs created and pay, which the state must put into a public report.
Money for schools: Schools can set a percentage of property tax money, which would normally be set aside by the city redevelopment commission for infrastructure or economic development projects, and the money would instead go toward transportation and bus replacement costs.
No license: Licenses to carry a handgun would no longer be required in Indiana.
Civics test: Students must pass a citizenship test before they can graduate.
Cellphones: All drivers must use a hands-free device to make or receive a call.
Minimum wage: Increase the state minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10.
State fossil: Designates the elegant sea lily as the official state fossil.
Referee battery: Penalties for battery would be more serious if committed against a referee, umpire or other athletic official.
Medical marijuana: Start a statewide medical marijuana program, and create the Department of Marijuana Enforcement to oversee the program.
Recycling deposit: Sets a 10-cent deposit on beverage containers, which customers would be refunded when returning the cans or bottles to be recycled.
Bus seat belts: School buses would be required to have seat and lap belts for all passengers.