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Indiana Senate Democrats Lament Missed Opportunities In Session's First Half

Brandon Smith
IPB News

Indiana Senate Democrats say Republicans haven’t focused on helping working Hoosiers in the first half of the 2021 session.

GOP leaders tout COVID-19 liability protections for businesses – already signed into law– as a major accomplishment of the session’s opening two months. There are also multiple bills to rein in the governor’s emergency powers. And new spending for small business recovery, learning loss and law enforcement reform.

But Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said there are too many missed opportunities.

“Don’t those workers – who, in the times of pandemic, had to go to work to make sure that we have and keep the freedoms that we have today – don’t they deserve an increased minimum wage?” Taylor said.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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The House Republican budget increases K-12 education spending by $378 million – but more than a third of that goes to private school vouchers. And Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) said neither GOP caucus has advanced a single recommendation from the governor’s teacher compensation commission.

“I hope that that report just doesn’t sit on a shelf, collecting dust,” Ford said.

The session’s second half gets underway Monday.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.