As Gov. Mike Pence made another pitch for state-funded preschool, the Indiana Senate passed legislation to simply study the issue instead.
The Senate voted 43-5 to approve House Bill 1004.
"We're not going to stand in the way of at least something," Sen. Earline Rogers, a former teacher from Gary, said in explaining the Democrats' support for a study rather than preschool program.
The bill now moves back to the House, where lawmakers are seeking to create a five-county pilot program to provide pre-kindergarten programs to poor children. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he favors adding the pilot program to the study approved by the Senate to give lawmakers a more comprehensive look at the issue.
On Thursday, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon, said he had not been an "early adopter" of the idea of state-funded preschool. But he said he's come around to the idea.
"State has a vested interest in the future of these children," Miller said.
On Wednesday, Pence went to the Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis to promote pre-kindergarten and on Thursday he was in Evansville for the same purpose.
Pence's message to the lawmakers has been: "The time is now."