Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) released the following comments in response to the governor’s State of the State address Tuesday.

“I am glad the governor finally decided to listen to the voices of over 15,000 teachers who advocated at the Statehouse for increased pay and other items on Organization Day in November. I am also happy he took a page from the Senate Democrats’ own playbook for the mechanism to raise teacher salaries. While I am glad that these two things happened, I am disappointed that he has doubled down on his commitment to make teachers wait yet another year before seeing substantial pay raises. His plan also does not free up as much money in the teacher pension fund as Senator Tallian’s plan does. Her bill can still get a hearing this year and start getting teachers more money, faster.

“I am also disappointed to see that once again the governor neglected to address the need for redistricting reform in the State of Indiana. We must take action in the 2020 session to create an independent commission charged with drawing state and congressional district maps. It’s time to put the power of choosing legislators back into the hands of the people.

“The governor also failed to discuss any proposals to ensure the safety of our children at school by reforming our outdated gun laws when it comes to background checks and the safe storage of firearms. 76 percent of Hoosiers have been worried or very worried about a school shooting in their community. Hoosiers should feel safe in our state and our caucus’ proposals would help ensure their safety.

“Governor Holcomb also touted his efforts on criminal justice reform. Meanwhile, in 2018, Indiana arrested 22,000 people for marijuana possession. Our jails are overflowing with Hoosiers convicted for possessing a plant that is legal in our neighboring states. A majority of Hoosiers want to decriminalize marijuana, and 25 states have already done so. Shouldn’t the governor want Indiana to lead on this issue?

“I look forward to continuing the fight to make the Senate Democrats’ priorities law in 2020 because these are measures overwhelmingly supported by Hoosiers. My colleagues in the Senate Democrat Caucus and I will not give up on our efforts to raise teachers’ salaries this year, end partisan gerrymandering, stop preventable gun deaths and decriminalize marijuana.”