Senate passes their version of Indiana budget

Indiana Statehouse (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Members of the Indiana Senate voted 40 – 8 Tuesday to pass their version of the state’s two-year budget plan.

The vote followed a busy Monday that saw a total of 48 amendments to the budget filed, with 34 amendments being called to the Senate floor.  Two amendments brought by Senate Democrats attempted to add language for a more specific hate crimes law into the budget bill.  Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) attempted to add language that would have added gender, gender identity, and age to the list of those protected under the hate crime legislation signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb two weeks ago.  Both amendments addressing hate crimes failed 12 to 37.

Like the House budget, the Senate version includes a $34.6 billion spending plan for the Hoosier state.  It also reserves about half the budget for K-12 funding, but does not include a mandatory 5 percent pay raise for teachers.

The Senate version also allocates less money for the Department of Child Services (DCS).  While the House version would give a $286 million annual increase for DCS, the Senate version would increase funding by $243 million and $223 million in 2020 and 2021.

The Senate’s budget would leave $2.2 billion in reserves, which is higher than the $1.8 billion proposed by Gov. Holcomb.

Another amendment that failed would have raised the state’s minimum wage to $11 per hour.  

Indianapolis Democrat Sen. J.D. Ford also proposed an amendment that would have pulled state funding from any school that discriminates, using Roncalli High School as an example.  That amendment also failed.

Democrats were able to pass five amendments, including one to increase funding to local jails.  The budget would now provide jails with $45 per day for each inmate in the jail.  That was increased from $35 per day.

The Senate’s budget now goes to the House where differences between the two bills must be worked out.

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