Sep 11, 2023 - News

No topics assigned to education study committee

Photo illustration of Indiana state capitol building, with radiating lines.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Legislative study committee meetings are underway — considering everything from ways to eliminate the state income tax to legalizing marijuana — but for the first time in years, no committee will examine education issues.

Why it matters: Education spending makes up nearly half of the state's annual budget, and school-related proposals have dominated the last several legislative sessions.

How it works: From summer through early fall, committees of state lawmakers meet to examine issues and work on potential bills for the next year's legislative session.

  • Topics are assigned by the legislative council, at the request of lawmakers.
  • About 25% of the 160 proposed topics were chosen for study this summer.

Yes, but: Some committees hold lengthy hearings and spend hours considering how to craft important policy for the upcoming session, while others hardly meet.

State of play: School vouchers, teacher pay and social issues — particularly those related to transgender and minority students — have been major points of contention at the Statehouse in recent years.

  • Last year's education study committee looked at things like the number of mandates on schools and the complexity index used in the school funding formula.
  • Some of the biggest education issues were the expansion of the state's private school voucher program, school library books and the treatment of LGBTQ+ students and topics in classrooms.

What they're saying: WFYI reported that Senate Democrats wanted to look at the impact of the voucher program.

  • "We talk about how much money we spend on education," said Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor. "Wouldn't it be nice to understand if it's actually being used effectively?"

The other side: House Speaker Todd Huston told reporters that just because an issue isn't assigned to a study committee doesn't mean lawmakers can't work on legislation related to it.

Between the lines: Even if a study committee meets and issues recommendations, they're non-binding, so committee assignments are more about lawmakers' priorities rather than concrete policy proposals.

  • So lawmakers may not be planning to tackle major education issues next year or they may not want to hash them out in public.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Indianapolis.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Indianapolis stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Indianapolis.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more