6 things to know about Gov. Holcomb's 2021 agenda

Holcomb Mask.PNG
Posted at 11:23 AM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 11:23:46-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb released his 2021 agenda Thursday morning as the next legislative session is set to begin in less than a month.

The agenda, as it has in previous years, has five main pillars: economy, infrastructure, education and workforce development, public health and good government. Some of the items on his agenda are mainstays that you’ll see every year, others are new for 2021. He’s included some items that require assistance by the Indiana legislature, and others that he can enact by himself.

Here are six things you need to know about his 2021 agenda.

Pass a balanced budget

2021 is a budget year for the Indiana legislature, meaning the state must pass the 2021-22 budget. If the budget passed is balanced, it would be the nineth consecutive balanced budget. New revenue projections released Wednesday show Indiana could end the current budget year with about $2.3 billion in reserves. Indiana lawmakers will be very careful in spending that extra money, as it’s still unclear what kind of long-term financial impact COVID-19 will have on the state.

Trying again for protections for pregnant workers

One of Holcomb’s agenda items in 2020 was more protections for pregnant women in the workplace. A bill, authored by a Lafayette Republican, would’ve required employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant women, such as more frequent breaks or a temporary transfer to a less strenuous position. But most Senate Republicans voted to strip the proposal of any meaningful change, and instead turn it into a study committee, which didn’t end up happening either.

Holcomb has put the protections back on his 2021 agenda.

Fund Indiana K-12 schools at 100% and restore higher education funding

After Holcomb called for cuts of about 15% by most state agencies, K-12 education was spared and received 100% of its usual funding. Holcomb is calling for legislation to ensure K-12 schools keep receiving their full funding in the next budget. He also wants to restore the 7% funding cut made to higher education funding when the pandemic first hit Indiana.

Review recommendations made by the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission

Holcomb’s teacher compensation task force released its report this week, offering 37 suggestions for increasing teacher pay in the state. So far, Holcomb has implemented one of the proposals – creating a website to compare school corporations’ finances compared to other districts. Click here to view the dashboard.

Removing barriers for reinstating driver’s license

Holcomb has called for making it a little easier for people to reinstate their driver’s license when it’s been revoked. He said the suspensions have a bigger impact on low-income populations, rural residents, and ex-offenders.

Body cameras for Indiana State Police

Holcomb wants to equip Indiana State Police with body cameras by spring 2021. It’s expected to cost about $50 million for the project. Since the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has started to implement body cameras, ISP is now the largest state police agency without body cameras. Holcomb first made the announcement for body cameras back in August.