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Holcomb 2024 Next Level Agenda


STATEHOUSE — The legislative session is over, but the work is not done for Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The governor sat down at his desk on Monday and signed 67 bills passed by state lawmakers, making them the law of the land in Indiana. One of the most notable bills he signed into law was a bill that will now implement new standards for young students to improve their reading skills.

The new law will require second graders to take the IREAD exam and if they fail to pass it, they will then have three chances to pass the test in the third grade. If they still fail to pass the exam, they will be held back.

Sending these kids on through school without the ability to read sets them up for failure throughout their education, and, quite frankly, the rest of their life,” said State Sen. Linda Rodgers (R-Granger) during the session.

Democrats opposed the bill saying that holding kids back does more social damage than the lack of reading skills. State Sen. Andrea Hunley (D-Indianapolis) claimed the students that will be most impacted by the new law will be students from low-income families and students of color.

Another bill Holcomb signed will rework standards for faculty to follow when it comes to free speech on college campuses. The new law, authored by State Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) will change up tenure review standards to ensure faculty are adhering to new “intellectual diversity” standards.

In that same vein those standards will also be imposed on school leaders as well to ensure that faculty have the freedom to research as they wish without fear of retaliation from the school.

The bill is mainly aimed at protecting students and faculty who are of the conservative persuasion as Deery and many Republicans accused some colleges in Indiana of trying to stifle conservative viewpoints on their campuses.

“There’s been no instances of students being ejected for being conservative,” said State Rep. Ed Delany (D-Indianapolis) of the bill. “Many conservative members of this body send their children to universities.”

Finally, Holcomb signed a bill increasing criminal penalties for having or using xylazine and another one reworking cosmetology licensure requirements through apprenticeships.

He also signed a bill that will have the Indiana DNR establish a bobcat hunting season. Bobcats were endangered in Indiana until about 20 years ago and opponents say the animal’s population hasn’t recovered enough yet to be hunted.

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