WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Monday began Indiana's 2014 budget year and the start of a two-year period that will see state government spend nearly $30.6 billion.
"We were frugal and responsible," Indiana State Senator Brandt Hershman (R-7) said. "We now have a money to invest back into things like transportation and schools and law enforcement, so it felt pretty good."
Meanwhile, a bevy of new state laws approved by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Mike Pence now take effect.
"You wind down 1,000 bills into a little more than 100 laws in three months period of time but it feels good to see that kind of accomplishment," Sen. Hershman said. "I think the taxpayer got a good deal out of it. It definitely stands in star contrast, not only to other states, but what's going on in Washington D.C."
Lawmakers said some new changes are coming to Indiana's school voucher program which has been on the books for two years.
This fall more students can get vouchers that will cover private school tuition costs. Children can also now receive the vouchers without first attending public school.
However State Senator Ron Alting (R-22) said this issue will continue to be debated.
"We really have not done a good job to re-evaluate truly how the voucher system is working and how is it affecting public education," Alting said.
Another new law will also help school districts fight bullying. This law requires the State Department of Education to develop procedures for investigating and reporting bullying.
"It could mean a fine or perhaps even sending that student, that's bullying, to juvenile court," State Representative Sheila Klinker (D-27) said.
For a complete list of new laws, click here .
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