Indiana House moves bill aimed at school board meetings

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Indiana legislators advanced a bill on Tuesday that would force public comment in school board meetings, while a separate proposal seeking to add political party identifications to what are now nonpartisan school board elections throughout the state was effectively abandoned.

A House bill requiring school boards to accept oral public comment at every meeting, allowing no less than three minutes per person, was approved by the full House and now heads to the Senate.

The legislation is a response to contentious school board meetings in Indiana over the last year, during which some districts chose to temporarily suspend public comment periods.

A related Republican-backed proposal that would require candidates running for school boards to identify as a Republican, Democrat or Independent did not advance from the House elections committee by the Tuesday deadline, however.

The committee chairman, Republican Rep. Tim Wesco, was not immediately available to comment on why the bill was held, or if lawmakers in the Senate could still advance their own version of the proposal.

The bill has drawn opposition from the Indiana School Boards Association and dozens of school board members from districts across the state, who argue that such steps would needlessly further insert politics into local school decisions.

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3 thoughts on “Indiana House moves bill aimed at school board meetings

  1. This is overreach by the state legislation – What happened to Republicans pushing for reduced regulation and higher-level government intervention? (That question is rhetorical)

    This issue — of letting people speak at school board meetings — should be taken care of at the local level. If people don’t like how their current school boards are holding their public comments, they the very simple solution is to vote in a new school board.

    The state — and especially the State House of Representatives — needs to get out of things that should be handled locally.

    To be clear, I’m for public comments and recorded/streamed meetings. I’m not for state level mandates on local issues.