INDIANAPOLIS—The Senate Appropriations Committee met today to review several bills, including SB 5 and SB 1. State Senator David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) released the following statement:

“Senate Bill 5, which would reduce the amount of lead piping in properties around the state, is a huge step forward in reducing the lead exposure in Hoosiers. The two main avenues that one can get lead poisoning is through lead paint and lead piping. Experts have found that when a home has one of these, they mostly have the other. Both children and the lower socioeconomic population are at high risk of getting lead poisoning. I support this bill wholeheartedly and will be happy to support it on the Senate Floor.

“Senate Bill 1 attempts to address the literacy crisis in Indiana, but it falls short. The General Assembly has come a long way in understanding the problems facing Hoosier students, but we are still failing to address the whole problem. Third-grade retention is not the solution to the inability to read. Furthermore, it is essential to provide sufficient time for the implementation of policy changes from the previous sessions. This allows us to observe the effectiveness of these changes and analyze the corresponding data before embarking on the passage of yet another policy.

“Reading needs to be introduced at a young age and reinforced through school curriculum and statewide testing. To facilitate this culture of literacy, I co-authored Senate Bill 340 last session which introduced the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to Indiana. This program sends free books to children from birth to age five. By starting reading at a young age through reading in the home, Pre-K programs, or school curriculum, the Hoosier people deserve the best solution we can give them. I am also concerned with the lack of a fiscal on the bill. We need to determine the true fiscal of this policy implementation and appropriate accordingly during the next budget session. Even though I had to oppose this bill in committee, I am optimistic in finding a solution that will help Hoosiers, not hurt them.”