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2020 Legislative Session

Lawmakers are expected to touch on big topics like teacher issues, vaping regulations and road safety in this year's legislative session.

It's slated to end in mid-March, and Republicans are insistent they don’t want to re-open the state budget this year – unless it’s for their priorities.

Also on the list of priorities are Indiana’s high health care costs. Lawmakers expect to pass a bill for transparency in medical prices and a ban on surprise billing – where patients, for instance, find out after a procedure that one of the doctors was out-of-network.

New This Week

Feb 20, 2020

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Franklin School Referendum Support Yard Sign

State Proposal To Limit Referendum Measures Catches School Advocates Off Guard

Right now, schools can propose referenda twice a year and in school-funded special elections, but lawmakers added a proposal into a bill this week that would limit those to general elections – about once every two years.

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Feb 20, 2020

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Senate Insurance & Financial Institutions Committee

Controversial Ambulance Legislation Headed To Summer Study Committee

State lawmakers are hitting the pause button on a controversial section of insurance reform bill.

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Feb 19, 2020

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Senate Democrats – from left, Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary), Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) and Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington).

Senate Democrats Call For Greater Virtual School Accountability

Indiana Senate Democrats are calling for greater accountability for virtual charter schools in the wake of allegations that two such schools inappropriately took $68 million in tax dollars.

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All Statehouse Coverage

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February 20, 2020

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An Indiana Department of Environmental Management employee inspects an area in Hamilton County where an agricultural tile has been damaged, causing what they call an isolated wetland to form over time, 2017.

Environmentalists Say Drain Maintenance Bill Could Hurt Wetlands

A seemingly simple bill to help local governments cut costs when repairing drains is working its way through the state legislature. But environmentalists worry it could harm the state’s wetlands. 

February 17, 2020

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buck

Bill To Eliminate Township Assessors Dead In Senate

Assessors in 13 of the state’s largest townships will keep their jobs after a bill to eliminate those positions was effectively killed off.

February 17, 2020

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Indiana statehouse

Senate Bill Would Unify Standards For Appointing Public Defenders

Senate Bill 302 would establish a standard procedure for courts to determine if a defendant is indigent.

February 14, 2020

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Weekly Statehouse Update: Syringe Exchange Extension Possible, State Of Higher Education

Accommodations for pregnant employees are unlikely to be restored. A one-year extension for Indiana’s syringe exchange programs is possible. And a bill to eliminate the state’s remaining township assessors is dead.

February 14, 2020

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Senate Committee Chair Jim Buck (R-Kokomo).

Bill To Eliminate Township Assessors Dead In Senate

The General Assembly – as part of broad reform – eliminated nearly a thousand township assessors in 2008. But it let voters in the largest townships decide whether to keep theirs and 13 assessors across the state remain.

February 13, 2020

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Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany).

House Leaders Push For Short-Term Syringe Exchange Extension

Scott County, Indiana, was undergoing an HIV epidemic in 2015. Lawmakers responded by allowing the creation of a syringe exchange program, something eight other counties have since also implemented.

February 13, 2020

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An ILEARN graphic.

Governor Signs Bill Delaying Penalties From New Indiana Exam

The bill signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb grants a two-year delay on schools receiving a lower A-F state rating based on scores from the 2019 or 2020 ILEARN exams.

February 12, 2020

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The Indiana House Chamber.

Pregnancy Accommodations Bill Unlikely To Be Restored In House

It looks unlikely the House will restore employment accommodations for pregnant workers that were stripped out in the Senate last week.

February 10, 2020

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NIPSCO's Michigan City coal plant.

NAACP: Vote Down Bill That Would Delay Coal Plant Closures

The bill would require the state to review a plant closure, hold a public hearing, and issue a report on whether or not the closure is reasonable. Lawmakers also added a provision that would help former coal miners in Indiana find jobs.

February 10, 2020

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Big Indiana Teacher Protest Didn't Prompt Funding Action

The school funding rebuff came as few teachers returned to the Statehouse since the November rally and several legislators said that few teachers had contacted them to talk about their concerns.

February 5, 2020

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The Senate Chamber

It's Halftime For The Senate. Which Education Proposals Are Moving On?

Lawmakers proposed more than 100 education bills but the number still alive has dwindled to just about two dozen.

February 4, 2020

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A student uses a calculator to take a test.

ILEARN 'Hold Harmless' School Accountability Legislation Sent To Governor

The state used a new standardized test last year – ILEARN replaced the old ISTEP. Students scores on that new test dropped sharply.

February 4, 2020

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Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis).

Bill To Retaliate Against Marion County Prosecutor Dies In Senate

Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) says differing ideas about the specifics of the legislation doomed the bill this year.

February 4, 2020

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The interior of the Indiana Senate Chambers.

Speed Cameras Bill Won't Advance In 2020 Session

The bill would have created a pilot program – speed cameras in four work zones statewide. Tickets would only have been issued if a driver was caught going 11 miles per hour over the limit while workers were present.

February 4, 2020

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statehouse workforce meeting

Bill To Grow Governor's Workforce Cabinet Passes House

A bill that aims to align Indiana’s workforce policies from preschool all the way to career preparation passed through the House on Monday. It would add more members to the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet.

February 4, 2020

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senate chambers

Senate GOP Guts Pregnancy Accommodations Bill, A Holcomb Priority

Senate Republicans gutted a bill Monday that would have required employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant employees’ needs.

February 3, 2020

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Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) speaks at the inaugural LGBTQ Statehouse Day.

Lawmakers, Advocates Celebrate Inaugural LGBTQ Statehouse Day

Hoosiers gathered from across the state for the first LGBTQ Statehouse Day. A group from the ACLU of Indiana, who organized the event, spent the day speaking to lawmakers about trans issues.

February 3, 2020

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payday loan sign

Consumer Credit Bill Gets Amended, Rolls Back Some Loan Interest Rates

A Senate committee revamped a bill that caps interest rates on many types of consumer credit after pushback from advocates and several lawmakers.

January 31, 2020

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Bill Would Require Teachers To Get Trained Before Carrying Guns In Schools

Legislation advancing in the Senate would require teachers who carry guns in school to undergo training, including specialized weapons training and behavioral assessments.

January 31, 2020

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statehouse in winter

Weekly Statehouse Update: Controversial Corrections Bills, Speed Cameras

The Senate Corrections Committee passes two controversial bills. Speed cameras legislation moves forward. And the state’s longest-serving legislator announces this session will be his last.

January 30, 2020

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A teacher listens to student questions during an in class project in Kokomo.

Could Removing Test Scores From Evaluations Help Indiana Recruit More Teachers?

A proposal to separate student test scores from teacher evaluations at the state level is making progress through the legislature, and the state’s largest teachers union says it could draw more young people to the profession. 

January 30, 2020

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senate committee meeting

Senate Committee Passes Health Plan Bill That Includes Sole Proprietors

Many Indiana farmers want more health care options. On Wednesday, they got closer to that goal. An Indiana Senate committee approved a bill that would allow the state farm bureau to offer a group health plan including sole proprietors.

January 29, 2020

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Eric Holcomb smiling.

Holcomb Signs Bill To Spend Money On College Buildings Over Teacher Pay

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation Wednesday that spends $291 million to pay cash for higher education building projects.

January 29, 2020

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It’s Legislative Halftime For House Education Bills: What Survived?

House lawmakers proposed fewer education-focused bills than the Senate, but only about a dozen made it through to the session’s next half.

January 29, 2020

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The Indiana Statehouse in the summer.

Fetal Remains Disposal Rules Bill Is Only Abortion Measure Advancing In 2020

Indiana law – upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court – says medical facilities must bury or cremate fetal remains. This year’s bill clarifies the policies those clinics and hospitals must develop to do so.

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January 28, 2020

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Youth Climate Action Inspires Proposed State Climate Resolution

In honor of the event, Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) is proposing a House resolution. It would require the state to form a summer study committee on climate change and recommend policies on climate solutions.

January 28, 2020

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Senate Committee Targets Marion County Prosecutor Over Marijuana Cases

A Senate committee approved a bill Tuesday that retaliates against Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears over his decision not to prosecute simple marijuana possession.

January 28, 2020

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Bill Creating Highway Speed Cameras Passes Committee After Changes

The bill would now allow the Indiana Department of Transportation – not Indiana State Police – to set up speed cameras in just four work zones statewide.

January 28, 2020

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Senate Panel Denies Measure To Enhance Training For Police In Schools

More districts are hiring law enforcement to increase security in schools and can use state funding to do so, but lawmakers are debating what sort of training officers need before working around students.

January 28, 2020

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Two Competing Bills About Lake Michigan Beach Access Pass Committee

Two contradictory state bills meant to decide who gets access to Lake Michigan beaches passed out of committee on Monday.

January 27, 2020

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Bill To Restrict Underage Marriages Approved By House Committee

Under current law, anyone under age 18 must have parental consent. And minors as young as 15 can get married in Indiana, if the girl is pregnant.

January 27, 2020

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Pregnant Worker Protection Bill Passes Committee

A bill that would require businesses to provide “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant workers passed through committee Monday. After hours of arguments, the bill now moves to the full Senate.

January 27, 2020

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Law Enforcement Applauds Cell Phone Ban For Motorists

Law enforcement agencies in Indiana say a bill to prohibit drivers from using their cell phones in any way while driving would make the state’s roadways a lot safer than they are.

January 24, 2020

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Weekly Statehouse Update: Surplus Spending To Governor, Hands-Free Driving Goes Forward

Legislation reached the governor’s desk for the first time this session. Hands-free driving easily cleared committee. And a controversial coal bill moved forward. Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

January 23, 2020

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Women Rally At Indiana Statehouse for Workplace, Wage Equality

According to Women4Change Indiana, although women make up close to half of Indiana’s workforce, they get paid 21 percent less than men. The pay disparity gets significantly worse for minority women. 

January 23, 2020

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Hands-Free Driving Law Unanimously Passes House Committee

A bill to ban drivers from holding cell phones while driving unanimously passed a House committee Wednesday. The legislation, a priority of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s, now heads to the House floor.

January 23, 2020

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Bill Would Make It Harder To Retire Coal Plants In Indiana

A state House bill would require utilities to get the state’s permission before shutting down a coal plant — at least until Indiana can develop a statewide energy plan.

January 22, 2020

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Bill Banning Employee Microchipping Passes Indiana House

A bill passed by the Indiana House Tuesday would ban companies from mandatory microchipping of employees. Although it seems like science fiction, the practice is growing more common in Europe and Asia.

January 22, 2020

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Bill To Create Indiana Youth Service Program Advances To Senate

A bill going to the Senate floor would create a program for high schoolers to try out careers while performing community service, called the Indiana Youth Service Program. 

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