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Panel backs allowing state board to replace Ritz as leader

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An Indiana Senate committee has approved a bill changing state law so that Democratic state schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz would no longer automatically be the State Board of Education’s chairman.

The Senate Rules Committee’s 7-4 party-line vote Monday evening advances the Republican-backed measure that supporters of Ritz say would disenfranchise voters who elected her as superintendent in 2012.

The proposal is similar to a bill approved by a House committee last week. Those backing the change in the chairman selection say it is needed to resolve ongoing disputes between the board and Ritz.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence now appoints all 10 other board members.