Senate Republicans lay out 2024 agenda focused on reading skills, childcare access, fiscal responsibility, and more

STATEHOUSE – Indiana Senate Republicans today laid out a caucus agenda focused on improving Hoosier students’ reading skills, childcare access, protecting patients, fiscal responsibility, government accountability, and upgrading water lines to protect Hoosiers’ health.

Senator Pro Tem Rodric Bray

“We are entering a short session where we are focusing on important nuts-and-bolts issues,” said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville). “Our Hoosier kids need to be able to read to be successful in life – period – and that’s why we have made our reading skills bill Senate Bill 1. In addition, members are working on ways to increase access to child care, protect patients, be even better stewards of taxpayer dollars, and upgrade our water lines so they are safe for Hoosiers in areas that still have lead pipes.”

Improving Hoosier students’ reading skills

Senate Bill 1, authored by State Senator Linda Rogers (R-Granger)

Senator Linda Rogers

WHAT: Ensure Hoosier students get the best reading education by providing Science of Reading instruction, committing to early detection and remediation for students not reading at grade level, and as a last resort, retaining those students who are not reading well enough to move on to fourth grade 

WHYNearly 1 in 5 Hoosier third graders lack basic reading skills. Ensuring students can read is the single most important thing Indiana’s education system can do so students can be successful.

Childcare access and affordability

Senate Bill 2, authored by State Senator Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso)

Senator Ed Charbonneau

WHAT: Increase the number of childcare providers in Indiana by eliminating red tape

WHY: Lack of childcare access and affordability is a big hurdle for many Hoosiers who want to enter the workforce. Increasing childcare access and affordability will ensure more Hoosiers who want to enter the workforce can do so while making sure their families are taken care of at the same time.

Protect Hoosier patients through prior authorization reform

Senate Bill 3, authored by State Senator Tyler Johnson (R-Leo)

Senator Tyler Johnson

WHAT: Reform the prior authorization system to make it work better for Hoosier patients

WHY: Overly burdensome prior authorization procedures can cause delays and even deny care for patients. SB 3 refocuses prior authorization on its intended purpose of identifying waste, fraud, and abuse – without negatively impacting patients and doctors.

Fiscal responsibility, government accountability

Senate Bill 4, authored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Chris Garten (R-Charlestown)

Senate Majority Floor Leader Chris Garten

WHAT: Set up an ongoing process to review and return unused state government funds to the General Fund, enable state agencies to lower or eliminate fines and fees more quickly

WHY: Elected officials have a duty to the public to be good stewards of taxpayer money, no matter how small or large the amount. SB 4 honors that commitment by identifying $40 million in unused funds in state government accounts and making them of better use to Hoosiers. Likewise, if a government agency wants to reduce a fine or fee, it should be able to do so with the least amount of resistance.

Upgrade lead pipes to protect Hoosiers’ health

Senate Bill 5, authored by State Senator Eric Koch (R-Bedford)

Senator Eric Koch

WHAT: Enable utility companies with Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission-approved lead line service replacement plans to replace lead pipes more quickly and in a more cost-effective way 

WHY: There are more than 265,000 lead water lines still in use in Indiana. Since lead pipes are known to cause severe health problems in children and adults, SB 5 would enable utility companies to replace them quickly, efficiently, and at a lower cost.