2015 Indiana General Assembly

ISTEP To Be Studied, Rather Than Replaced In Budget

Apr 22, 2015
Melanie Holtsman / https://www.flickr.com/photos/holtsman/4331034955/

The ISTEP exam will survive another year, after a legislative flirtation with replacing it.

The Senate twice passed bills to get rid of ISTEP in favor of a shorter and cheaper national test, amid estimates, since scaled back, that a revised ISTEP would cost $67 million a year. The legislation appeared to gain momentum in February with the announcement that this year‘s test would take 12 hours.

Courtesy Eric Turner / http://www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/homepages/r32/2085.html

Although other issues have overshadowed them this session, the Indiana legislature entered the 2015 session with two major goals: pass a budget and write new ethics reforms.

Recent ethics scandals at the Statehouse prompted lawmakers this session to strengthen Indiana’s ethics code. 

The bipartisan legislation is the most sweeping ethics package in a decade.

But some critics say the changes don’t go far enough.

Kyle May / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kylemay/

The Senate Wednesday narrowly approved a bill eliminating the state’s common construction wage after senators spent more than three hours over the past two days debating the issue of repealing Indiana’s minimum wage for construction workers on public projects.

Opponents of the bill such as Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) note that the common wage helps support job training programs and ensures public projects are properly built by well-trained, highly paid workers.

Flickr Creative Commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/intropin/4499124890

When Justin Phillips lost her son Aaron to a heroin overdose in October of 2013, she didn’t know there was a drug that could have saved his life. Now, she’s a passionate advocate of making naloxone available to people like her. At a recent Indiana House committee meeting, she told lawmakers that she doesn’t want other parents to go through what she did.

“Aaron was a brother, a friend, a talented quarterback, and an adolescent without a fully-formed decision-making center in his brain,” she said. “Aaron only used heroin for four short months. And he really wanted to quit.”

Brandon Smith / IPBS

More than two thousand predominantly union workers and contractors filled the south lawn of the Statehouse, listening to industry leaders and lawmakers oppose a bill repealing the common wage law.

“Enough is enough! Just vote no,” the rallyers chanted.

Frank Marshall is the president of contracting company G. E. Marshall.  He describes himself as a lifelong Republican and says he regrets helping put GOP lawmakers in power at the Statehouse.

“They will not any longer get any financial support from me or my votes in the future,” Marshall says.

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