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Education, marijuana and money: The top political stories of 2019

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 06:00:25-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The year's top political stories came from the Indianapolis City-County Building, the Indiana Statehouse and the U.S. Capitol.

But the No. 1 topic Hoosiers cared about on TheIndyChannel.com? Education. Here is a recap of the year's top political stories.

Click on each headline to read more on that story.

Indiana teachers hit with pellets during active shooter training, ISTA says

The report that Indiana teachers were struck during an active shooter training surprised everybody listening. A representative with the Indiana State Teachers Association testified before the Indiana Senate Education and Career Development Committee in March.

The representative said teachers were taken into a room four at a time, told to crouch down, and were shot “execution-style” with the pellets. She said welts appeared on their bodies, and blood was drawn.

She was trying to push lawmakers to amend a bill to include limits and safety precautions during active shooter training in schools.

That language didn’t end up in any bill passed in 2019.

What should Indiana's minimum wage be? 3 proposals would change Hoosier incomes

There were three proposals in the 2019 legislative session that would’ve changed Indiana’s minimum wage. The minimum wage hasn’t increased in Indiana since the federal minimum wage increased in 2009.

The proposals would’ve increased the state’s minimum wage to $11.12, $12 or $15 per hour. But all three bills failed in committee.

MAP: These school districts are closed or on e-learning Tuesday for #RedForEd

Red for Ed was one of the biggest protests at the Indiana Statehouse in the last few years, with more than 15,000 registered to attend. Teachers from all over the state rallied at the Statehouse to demand more attention for public education in Indiana.

With so many teachers out of the classroom on that day, dozens of school districts closed or had an e-learning day. This map showed just how widespread the closures were.

Could Marion County lead the way for statewide marijuana law changes?

Marion County broke the mold in Indiana, as it made the decision in September to stop prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana charges. Prosecutor Ryan Mears said the office found a lack of connection between violent crime in Indianapolis and simple marijuana possession cases.

Many Indiana lawmakers have since praised the county’s decision, saying it could show the rest of the state that this is the right decision. But Gov. Eric Holcomb and other Republican leaders have staunchly opposed any efforts of decriminalization or legalization of marijuana.

Indiana teacher minimum wage could be $50,000 per year, under new House proposal

An Indiana representative tried to get teachers a higher minimum wage in the state. Rep. Ryan Hatfield, D-Evansville, filed a bill that would create a minimum wage for teachers of $50,000 per year. Indiana teachers made, on average, 54,308 in 2017. But they start at $35,241.

Hatfield’s bill died without a hearing in the House Committee on Education.

State lawmaker said Curtis Hill accusers got what they deserved, lawsuit alleges

The story of sexual misconduct allegations against Attorney General Curtis Hill may have first broken in 2018, but the issues have continued into 2019. In June, the four accusers filed a federal lawsuit, saying they were retaliated against and defamed by Hill and the state of Indiana.

But the lawsuit also claimed other state lawmakers, both Republican and Democratic, made belittling comments about the claims. One lawmaker is alleged to have said, “What are we supposed to do when these women wear a black bra under a white blouse, not look?”

RTV6 reached out to all lawmakers who are alleged to have made a comment about the accusers or the allegations. All declined comment on what was found in the documents.