Weekly Statehouse update: 21st Century Scholars automatic enrollment, childbirth expenses expansion
A Senate committee advances a bill that would criminalize some bystanders in police situations. Legislation to automatically enroll students in a key state scholarship program continues to progress. And a bill headed for the full Senate expands the list of childbirth expenses a court can order fathers to help pay.
Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.
HB 1186: Encroachment on an investigation
Legislation headed for the full Senate creates a crime for a person who encroaches on a 25-foot bubble after being told to stop by a police officer who is “engaged” in their duties. Supporters say HB 1186 is about keeping police and the public safe. But opponents worry it’s too vague and could be abused.
HB 1449: 21st Century Scholars enrollment
The 21st Century Scholars Program covers full tuition at state colleges and universities for low-income students. But only about a half of eligible students enroll, in part because you must do so by the end of eighth grade.
Students are required to maintain a 2.5 GPA, earn at least a Core 40 high school diploma, and complete activities like visiting a college campus and filing the Free Application for Federal State Aid (FAFSA).
Proposed legislation, HB 1449, heard in a Senate committee this week would automatically enroll students, while offering the ability to opt-out. It would not change the requirements of the program, which also includes a pledge by the student to stay out of trouble, such as avoiding drugs and alcohol and the juvenile justice system.
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HB 1009: Court ordered pregnancy and childbirth expenses
And the list of expenses a court can order biological fathers to cover 50 percent of around childbirth could grow to include items like cribs, clothing, blankets and more. Some lawmakers expressed a desire in committee this week to give those fathers more of a say in the purchase of those expenses.
Find all the bills our statewide team is covering in our bill tracker at ipbs.org/projects/2023billtracker/
Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.