Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) released the following statement after testimony was heard on resurrected language from House Bill (HB) 1315 during the Legislative Council meeting on Monday morning:
“I can’t stress enough how unnecessary House Bill 1315 is. It is an unprecedented power grab for the state to use its power of big government to dismantle a locally-elected body, completely ignoring the voting rights of Hoosiers. It sets a very dangerous example for the state to actually remove the right to vote for local offices. There are 14 other school corporations that match the same criteria as Muncie that could be taken over next and further disenfranchise Hoosiers.
“Muncie schools are already showing improvements thanks to our hard working Emergency Manager and teachers. The legislature passed Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 567 last year which put emergency managers in place in both Gary and Muncie. We have hard proof that both of those emergency managers have made substantial improvements in less than a year to turn around the financial and academic conditions of the school corporations.
“SEA 567 is working and we don’t need HB 1315 to take away the voting rights of Hoosiers, to remove the collective bargaining rights of teachers and allow them to be fired with no notice, to provide no end date on when Ball State will relinquish control of Muncie Schools back to the community and to mandate how frequently the Gary School Board is allowed to meet.
“This bill opens doors to school takeovers across the state. There is no law or bill that prevents the supermajority from coming after more school systems. Your school could be next. We don’t need this bill because the government in a democracy should never be in the business of taking away Hoosiers’ right to vote.”