The first half of this year’s legislative session by the Indiana General Assembly could be described as a “culture war”, said Democratic Senator Greg Taylor of Indianapolis.
Monday is the beginning of the second half of the session, with Taylor’s bill to decriminalize the possession of two ounces of marijuana by people over 21, being voted down.
But, Taylor’s beef is largely with how the Republican supermajority is treating teachers and poor people.
“We’ve got a $5 billion surplus and we’re over here fighting about what teachers can teach in the classroom instead of talking about how we take some of that money and increase the salaries of those teachers,” he said.
Teachers salaries were increased last year with money from the state budget. Taylor called it a minimum increase, saying before that, teachers had not had a bump in six years.
“And we’re talking about what they’re teaching and putting more responsibility on them and we’re sitting on a $5 billion surplus because we want to keep a AAA (credit) rating. By the way, 13 other states have a AAA rating. We’re not unique.”
Taylor said he believes the Senate would approach the House’s legislation designed to keep Critical Race Theory out of the classroom differently. The Senate already abandoned its own CRT bill.
“We’re gonna have to take some really responsible approaches to this legislation as it comes over from the House,” he said.
Taylor criticized Republicans, saying they should be doing more to help Hoosiers.
“We just passed legislation today that’s gonna eliminate increased SNAP benefits for poor people because, as one of my colleagues told me, they want people to go back to work,” said Taylor.