Bill to excuse students for state fair heads to governor

A bill to help students participate in the Indiana State Fair passed the Senate and is now on its way to Gov. Mike Pence to sign into law or veto.

Senate Bill 114 would let students have up to five excused absences from school to participate in the fair. The legislation results from the increased number of schools using balanced or year-round calendars, which means more students are in class during the summer fair.

The bill had previously passed the Senate but was amended before passage in the House.

The House added language that the bill’s author, Sen. Jean Leising-R, Oldenburg, said makes it a “better bill.”

The new provision says parents must ask for the excused absence in writing and the principal must grant the absence in writing if the student is in good academic standing.

Another House change increased the number of allowed absences from three days to five days.

However, Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, said she is not thrilled with the House changes. She said she does not feel the state fair rises to the same level as serving as a page or volunteering on Election Day, which are other absences allowed by law.

“I think they’ve made a bad deal worse,” Rogers said.

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