Concentrating on a two-year state budget in Indiana will be the primary focus in Indianapolis, but state Senate Democrats have a few items they plan to support this session.
According to a press release, 8th District state Senator Jim Arnold and other state Democrats intend to propose raising the minimum wage in Indiana to $10.10 an hour.
Arnold represents areas in Starke and LaPorte Counties. Changing Indiana’s minimum wage would follow an increase in other states and cities around the country.
Arnold says increasing the minimum wage plays into the topic of economic inequality – which he says is a pressing issue for the Hoosier state.
“We want to give a livable wage, we think the minimum wage and $10.10, maybe it’s a little exorbitant by some of the small businesses and manufacturers standards so to speak, but overall I think that is a good wage and it’s going to attract more people to our great state,” says Arnold.
Also included in the Democratic agenda this session is better funding school related programs. That includes expanding a pilot program for early childhood education to 14 counties.
The push is being made alongside a discussion to reform education funding. Arnold says less of a focus should be put on building a surplus, instead restoring programs.
“The fact is, our public schools are suffering and we need to get some of those cut programs restored back into our public schools and show these people that we’re behind them,” says Arnold.
Apart from the Democratic caucus, Arnold says he has a bill being heard Tuesday in committee that looks to establish the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy as a criminal justice agency.
Arnold also says he has plans for a bill to address the confidentiality of domestic violence reports made by law enforcement and the advocacy organizations working with the victims.