A Short – but Perhaps Surprising -- Session
We will skip all of the puns about “in focus,” “seeing clearly” etc., and just say, “Happy New Year and welcome to 2020!” It’s going to be a big year, starting with the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly and ending with a major election for Indiana’s Governor’s seat, Congressional District 5 and, of course, the presidency. So, let’s get this party started . (And add “Pink” to your playlist for an energy boost … you’re probably going to need it when it’s all said and done.)
Maybe Yes, Maybe No. After the Republican majority issued numerous statements about “not this year” regarding salary increases for teachers, and Governor Eric Holcomb indicated he was going to wait for recommendations later this year from a teacher pay commission, educators gained a glimmer of hope earlier this week. Monday the Governor indicated salary increases might come down earlier in light of fast-growing state tax revenues. Details are expected during Holcomb’s State of the State address on Tuesday evening. OneZone will be following along via social media, so tune in and turn on.

Speaking of Teachers . Educator-turned-legislator Tony Cook (R-Cicero) introduced legislation Monday that would allow school districts to determine how student exams are used when evaluating teachers. The proposal passed out of the House Education Committee on Tuesday and is headed for the house floor as HB1002 . According to Cook, a former high school principal and school superintendent, “Local school administrators have a better grasp of educators’ strengths in the classroom,” Cook said. “Giving individual school districts the flexibility to decide how to use test scores in evaluations will provide a more complete and accurate picture of teachers’ overall performance.”

A Sign of the Times. The aforementioned “big election year” was perhaps the impetus for the Hamilton County Commissioners to approve an amended sign ordinance that prohibits the placement all non-public safety signs within public rights-of-way in the unincorporated areas of Hamilton County, along roads and bridges maintained by Hamilton County, and on land owned by the county. This ordinance is a reflection of a similar one adopted by Carmel and soon to be adopted by Fishers as well as Westfield and Noblesville. According to Commission President Steve Dillinger, it comes down to a safety issue. “Poorly placed signs increase visual clutter, distract drivers, and make it difficult to obey street and traffic signs.” The sign ordinance will be enforced starting Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. Click here to read the ordinance in its entirety.

Plus 1: The field is starting to narrow down with about a month to go before the deadline to declare candidacy for the primary election. Republican State Senator Victoria Spartz of Noblesville emailed her supporters announcing that she is suspending her campaign to explore a run for the 5 th District Congressional seat. That leaves Scott Baldwin – a Hamilton County businessman and military veteran -- as the lone Republican in the running. Earlier in the week, Democratic State Senator Eddie Melton announced he was quitting the race for Governor. February 7 is the deadline for filing for primary candidates.