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Weekly Statehouse update: State of the State, caucus agendas, antisemitism bill

The western exterior of the Indiana Statehouse is centered in the background, with a plaza between two state government buildings in the foreground.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
The work of the 2024 legislative session began on Jan. 8, 2024 and will run through no later than March 14, 2024.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s final State of State includes a surprise. Republican caucuses unveil their agendas. And an antisemitism bill heads to the House floor.

Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

State Of The State Address

Holcomb spent much of his State of the State address reflecting on his time in office, trumpeting the state’s accomplishments over the last seven years. But he did announce that his economic development initiative, READI 2.0, will receive a $250 million boost from the Lilly Endowment, the single largest grant award in its history.

House GOP and Senate GOP agendas

House and Senate Republican agendas this session are centered on education and workforce issues. The House GOP top priority bill would allow state scholarship programs to be used for workforce training, not just traditional two- and four-year degree programs.

And the Senate GOP’s top priority is improving student reading skills. Their bill, SB 1, identifies early those students who are struggling to read and holds back most of those who fail the test in third grade.

Democrats unveil bicameral agenda

House and Senate Democratic caucuses unveiled a joint agenda aimed at addressing the costs of child care, housing and health care.

Democratic leaders say the caucuses working together is about their collective voice being louder than individual voices.

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 765-275-1120. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues, including our project Civically, Indiana.

HB 1002: Enforcement of equal educational opportunity

A bill, HB 1002, unanimously approved in a House committee this week would ban antisemitism in public educational institutions. A similar bill cleared the House last year but failed to advance in the Senate. Some who testified voiced concerns the measure would limit free speech.

Disclosure: the Lilly Endowment also provides funding for Indiana Public Broadcasting News.

Find all the bills our statewide team is covering in our bill tracker at ipbs.org/2024billtracker/.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.