Senate Bill 179 would have required the Superintendent of Public Instruction to become an appointed position by the Governor, instead of being an elected position chosen by voters, especially since over half of the state budget is spent on K-12 education. Senate Democrats also argued that SB 179 did not require a potential candidate for the Superintendent of Public Instruction to be a resident of Indiana, or to have an education background, and filed amendments to the proposal. Those amendments were defeated on the floor of the Senate. A session priority for the Governor and Statehouse Republicans, the bill died in the Senate by a surprise vote of 23-26.
Similar House legislation, House Bill 1005, was approved by a vote of 68-29 during the first half of the legislative session. Since HB 1005 contains substantially similar language, under Senate rules, the bill should not receive a Senate hearing and the issue should be dead for this session. However, in a politically-motivated move, next week the Republican-controlled Senate Rules Committee will hear HB 1005 and consider amendments to the bill.
The Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee will hold its first committee hearing for the specific piece of legislation on Monday, March 27th at 10 a.m. in the Senate Chamber.