State Rep. Rowray finds silver linings in first session

Don Knight, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·2 min read

Mar. 28—ANDERSON — Freshman state Rep. Elizabeth Rowray, R-Yorktown, found pandemic restrictions a glass half full during her first legislative session.

"You know we've condensed the schedule, which you might originally think would be a detriment to getting work done," Rowray said. "I think it's just made people be far more efficient with their time."

Rowray represents District 35 after winning the November election against Democratic incumbent Melanie Wright.

In her first session, Rowray has worked on the budget as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. The budget bill, HB 1001, has passed on to the Senate. It includes $250 million in broadband grants.

"I think a huge silver lining of COVID has been the fact that so many kids were learning online and really shining a light on the absolute critical need for everyone to be able to have broadband capability," Rowray said.

Other important legislation this session includes Senate Enrolled Act 2, which fully funds schools for virtual students.

Payments to schools for virtual students is currently 85% of the amount for a student attending classes in person. SEA 2 has passed both the House and Senate and, if signed by the Gov. Eric Holcomb, schools will receive the full payment for virtual students.

Also receiving widespread bipartisan support was a justice reform bill. Rowray and Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, were among co-authors of the bill.

A provision of the bill requires sharing of employment discipline records among law enforcement agencies.

"That's going to keep people from just hopping (to another police department) if they're a bad apple," Rowray said.

The session wraps up at the end of April. But with 2020 Census data needed to redraw districts not available until the fall, there will likely be a special session.

Follow Don Knight on Twitter @donwknight, or call 765-622-1212 ext. 204567.