INDIANAPOLIS – Yesterday, Senate Democrats offered a total of 30 amendments to the state’s next two-year budget over the course of three and a half hours on the 2nd reading deadline for the Senate. While Senate Democrats were successful in passing five important amendments, other equally important amendments ranging from increased teacher pay to adding age, gender and gender identity to the definition of a hate crime, were rejected by the Republican supermajority.
Senate Democrats proposed over $1.2 billion in new and available revenue to more than fund amendment proposals that would cost just over $400 million. State Senator Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) had the following comments on the outcome of Senate Democrat amendments:
“While I am encouraged that our caucus was successful in getting a few important proposals added into the state budget, I can’t help but be disappointed in the supermajority for the opportunities they neglected.
“Senate Democrats had a clear, comprehensive and fully-funded plan to increase salaries across the board for our dedicated public educators. It is disheartening that once again, Senate Republicans dismissed a vital opportunity to raise teacher salaries.
“Senator Melton’s property tax amnesty program that was successfully amended into the bill will no doubt assist Indiana counties in recouping delinquent property taxes, and Sen. Tallian’s victorious amendment to provide increased funding for our jails are both commendable feats. However, Hoosiers will likely go another year without an increased minimum wage. Equal pay for women and men will still be nonexistent. Voucher schools, funded by taxpayer dollars, will continue to be allowed to discriminate against their staff – all because our amendments to address these issues were denied.
“We still have just over a week to go before the 2019 session officially adjourns, and in that time, Senate Democrats will continue to fight for every Hoosier to earn a living wage, to be protected from discrimination and have access to a quality education.”