INDIANAPOLIS—Proposals offered by Senate Democrats to restart a pilot early childhood education program were blocked on Monday. Amendments to House Bill (HB) 1004, offered by State Senator John Broden (D-South Bend), were defeated on near party-line votes. Sen. Broden expressed disappointment with the results, considering Indiana ranks 45th nationally in delivering a skilled, well-educated labor force.

“Clearly Indiana has made great strides in being a hospitable place to do business but we are lagging in labor supply,” said Sen. Broden. “We believe that a quality preschool option is a critical part of closing the labor supply gap and ensuring that Hoosier children get the education today to compete tomorrow.”

Two amendments that were defeated included language to add a framework to compete for federal Race to the Top funding and reinsert a measure to create a pilot preschool program for around 1,000 Hoosier 4-year-olds. An amendment to add at least one member of the Early Learning Advisory Committee to the study committee proposed in HB 1004 was successfully added by voice vote.

Earlier in the day, Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) noted that early childhood education enjoyed nearly universal support at the Statehouse.

“The time to act is now,” said Sen. Lanane. “We have to move forward with this and there is broad consensus from both the governor and House of Representatives to bring us up to speed with what 41 states have already done.”

The measure now moves to a final vote in the Senate before returning to the House of Representatives where changes can be accepted or modified by the bill’s original author.

For more information on the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus agenda or other State Senate business, call 1-800-382-9467 or visitwww.senatedemocrats.in.gov.

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