Black Legislative Caucus to Focus on Education, Health Care, Crime
Indy, Lake County lawmakers also seek to act as liaisons with banks
(WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
Members of Indiana's Black Legislative Caucus plan to focus on health care, gun violence and education inside the statehouse, and on the banking industry outside the statehouse.
Indianapolis Representative Greg Porter, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, says the caucus will push for the restoration of $300 million slashed from school budgets at the depth of the state's budget crunch. And Gary Senator Earline Rogers says she'll introduce bills to ensure contracts to run turnaround schools don't overlook items such as utilities. She'll also seek to rein in the growth of charter schools, which the state moved to expand in 2011. Rogers argues school districts which exceed a critical mass of charter schools should be able to veto any new charters authorized by universities, mayors or the new state charter board.
Legislators say they'll monitor the state's implementation of the federal health-care law, scheduled to take full effect next year. And they say they're still formulating a position on limiting gun violence -- Rogers says they're prepared to support national legislation being considered by Congress, mayors and police chiefs.
The caucus says it wants to ensure banks work with homeowners and small businesses hit hard by the recession, but those efforts will consist more of talking with banks directly than introducing legislation.
The caucus comprises the legislature's 12 African-American members and one of its two Latina members, Representative Mara Candelaria-Reardon (D-Munster). All 13 are Democrats from Marion and Lake Counties.