GiaQuinta at 2019 session’s halfway point: “We’re setting a low bar, and not reaching it”

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta from Fort Wayne issued the following statement today on the first half of the 2019 session of the Indiana General Assembly:

“Going into this session, Republican leadership showed an alarming lack of ambition on what they wanted to accomplish this session. So far, we are living down to that goal.

“Have we increased pay for Indiana teachers now? No. House Republicans rejected multiple plans offered by House Democrats to give all teachers a 5 percent pay raise.

“Have we expanded pre-K programs throughout Indiana? No. House Republicans rejected our efforts to take pre-K statewide.

“Have we protected funding for public schools? Or sought greater accountability for our voucher, charter, and virtual school programs? We have passed a funding formula, but there are real questions about how much it will benefit public schools. We also continue to take bigger slices of the pie in funding for charter and voucher schools, with very little effort made to make these non-traditional schools accountable and transparent.

“Did we do anything to make voting more accessible in Indiana? No. House Republicans defeated every effort we advanced to make it easier for Hoosiers to both register and vote. Nothing was done to place control back into the hands of voters by creating a commission to draw districts for members of the General Assembly and Congress.

“Our concerns extend to the issues we will be facing in the next few weeks. Will we pass a bias crimes law? The Senate passed something that carries the title of ‘bias crimes,’ but it offers nothing that will get Indiana off the list of states that offer no protections. House Democrats will be moving to correct an error that already has drawn worries from both Gov. Holcomb and business leaders across Indiana.

“In short, we are not doing enough to address the kinds of issues we think must be taken to improve the lives of Hoosiers, but there is still time to act.”

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