By: Sen. Kyle Walker
Eliminating Textbook Fees For Families
With Hoosier students getting ready to go back to school, families around the state are buying new school supplies and outfits so their child is ready for another year of learning.
One expense Hoosier families won’t have to worry about this year is covering the cost of curriculum fees, including textbook and technology fees, for their children in public schools.
That’s because our new state budget allocates $160 million to cover these expenses beginning this school year, which is part of the state’s historic $2.9 billion investment in new K-12 education funding.
Making high-quality educational opportunities more accessible to Hoosier students is critical to our students’ – and state’s – long-term success. I was happy to support these initiatives so parents can feel confident in the quality of education their families receive.
Applications Open for Operation Back to School
Indiana Veteran families experiencing financial hardship can apply for funding to manage back-to school expenses through the Indiana Department of Veteran Affairs Military Family Relief Fund.
Eligible families can receive $500 per dependent child and full-time college student living in their household.
Applications close on Aug. 31.
Creating a Safer Indiana
In 2021, I sponsored House Enrolled Act 1558 which targets crime in central Indiana and created the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force (ICGTF). The ICGTF is a coordinated, cross-jurisdictional effort between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including Fishers Police Department, Lawrence Police Department, and IMPD.
The mission of the ICGTF is to reduce violent, gun-related crimes in Central Indiana. ICGTF focuses on associated cases from the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN), as it provides a comprehensive collection of ballistic evidence from gun related cases to identify suspects and trends. ICGTF leverages other investigative practices and tools such as e-Trace to assist in the crime gun intelligence process.
The 2023 Second Quarter Summary of the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force highlighted some big successes, which include:
- Completed a two-year investigation into one of the Midwest’s largest Fentanyl and Methamphetamine distribution rings;
- Seized over 55,630 grams of illegal narcotics (cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, marijuana and MDMA);
- 160 State arrests;
- 19 Federal arrests; and
- Seized 200 firearms from unlawful owners.
Visit the 2023 Indiana State Fair
The 2023 Indiana State Fair is right around the corner, and the 18-day festival will celebrate Indiana’s rich agriculture history and basketball legacy.
Aside from the fair’s traditional activities, new events for this year’s theme will include:
- HOOPEST Outdoor Amusement Park;
- Pacers Sports & Entertainment Immersive exhibit;
- Land of Legends: Indiana Basketball Legacy, in partnership with the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame;
- Space Ham: An Augmented Reality Experience;
- Gene Hackman’s 1951 Chevy from the movie “Hoosiers;”
- The Evolution of the Game exhibit; and
- The Indiana Historical Society’s Chuck Taylor and Indiana Basketball exhibit.
Attendees can save on parking and admission by purchasing tickets before July 28. Daily deals, including three dollar Thursdays and Military and First Reponders Day, are also available.
The state fair will run from July 28 through Aug. 20, and will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Applications Open for Next Level Connections Broadband Grants
Applications for round four of the Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program are now open for local communities to increase broadband coverage.
Communities will be eligible to receive a maximum of $5 million per grant to fund projects by telecommunications providers and utility cooperatives.
-Kyle Walker is a State Senator serving District 31 which includes parts of Hamilton County