General Assembly Session ended Thursday

A roads package approved and a plan to scrap ISTEP among the last bills addressed for 2016



Indiana Legislature adjourns after approving roads package

The GOP-controlled Legislature has approved a plan that will pump about $800 million into fixing the Indiana’s crumbling roads and bridges without raising taxes.

Lawmakers approved the bill late Thursday before adjourning for the year. The measure now goes to Governor Mike Pence.

The plan taps into the state’s $2 billion budget reserve while shifting some gas tax money that was spent on other priorities back to infrastructure spending.

The agreement would provide about $232 million for improvements to the state’s highways while offering about $585 million to local governments for their own improvements.

House Speaker Brian Bosma said much of the $585 million is from local income tax collections held in state reserve accounts andrightfully belongs to local governments anyway.


Indiana Legislature approves bill to scrap ISTEP

The Indiana Legislature has approved a bill calling for that will scrap the troubled ISTEP standardized exam that has been administered every year to students.

The House approved the measure on a 77-19 vote Thursday. It also was approved by the Senate and now heads to Governor Mike Pence.

That measure, sponsored by Republican Representative Bob Behning of Indianapolis, would scrap the unpopular test as well as create a panel to study what should replace it.

The bill does not allow Democrats to appoint members to the committee. They criticized Republicans for leaving them out of the process.

Democrats argue education policies approved by Republicans in recent years led to the problems plaguing the ISTEP exam.