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2021 Legislative Session

Indiana’s legislative session begins on Jan. 4. Between COVID-19, redrawing legislative districts and setting the state’s two-year budget, lawmakers will be tackling a lot in the next few months. 

Hundreds of bills are filed every year, and it’s difficult for even journalists – who are literally paid to – to keep up with all of them. How can you keep up? Here’s our guide for how to navigate Indiana’s legislative session.

Your Guide To The 2021 Session

Dec 16, 2020

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The front of the Indiana Statehouse in the winter.

How Do I Follow Indiana’s Legislative Session? Here’s Your Guide To Demystify The Process

Hundreds of bills are filed every year, and it’s difficult for even journalists – who are literally paid to – to keep up with all of them. How can you keep up? Here’s our guide for how to navigate Indiana’s legislative session.

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All Statehouse Coverage

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April 13, 2021

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Vaccine COVID Pfizer

House Debates, But Vote Blocked On COVID-19 Vaccine Passport Ban

Indiana House lawmakers debated a ban on so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports Monday.

April 13, 2021

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An interdunal wetland at Miller Woods in Indiana Dunes National Park

Some Changes To The Controversial Wetlands Bill Contradict Others

A bill that originally aimed to remove protections for Indiana’s wetlands has undergone some big and somewhat contradictory changes.

April 11, 2021

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smoking

'Extreme Frustration': Indiana Chamber Reacts To Senate Tobacco Product Tax Changes

Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said there’s no reason for legislators to be hesitant in increasing taxes on smoking.

April 9, 2021

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Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb

Gov. Holcomb Vetoes Bill Allowing Legislators More Emergency Powers

Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed legislation Friday that would allow lawmakers to call a special session during a public emergency.

April 9, 2021

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A person experiencing homelessness.

Senate Committee Revives Possible Expansion Of Cash Assistance For Needy Families

Jessica Fraser of the Indiana Institute for Working Families says Indiana’s TANF laws are in dire need of an update. Eligibility rules haven’t changed since the 1980s.

April 9, 2021

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Universities Could Ban Natural Gas Under Bill, But Not Indiana Cities

House Bill 1191 would now allow universities to put policies in place to make their buildings greener, but cities still wouldn’t be able to do so.

April 9, 2021

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guns

Eliminating Handgun Licenses Likely Not Happening This Session But Not Ruled Out

Legislation that would eliminate Indiana’s licenses to carry a handgun in public has been shot down by Senate Republicans.

April 9, 2021

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Union supporter at Black Lives Matter rally.

Bill Prioritizing Protection Of Monuments Headed To Governor

Local governments in Indiana must prioritize protecting monuments and statues or risk losing funding if the governor signs a bill approved by the Senate Thursday.

April 8, 2021

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Sens. Eric Bassler (R-Washington), left, and Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen), right, present the Senate Republican two-year state budget proposal.

Senate GOP Budget Proposal Adds K-12 Funds For Poverty, Less For School Choice

Indiana Senate Republicans unveiled their $36 billion two-year state budget proposal Thursday – making a number of changes to the House’s K-12 funding plan and focusing heavily on one-time spending.

April 8, 2021

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absentee ballot

Controversial Absentee Ballot Application Bill Dramatically Scaled Back

A main focus of the bill, SB 353, was requiring voters to include either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on applications for an absentee ballot.

April 8, 2021

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Bill Mandating Teachers Annually Opt In For Union Membership Heads To Governor

The legislation mandates that school districts have to get permission from teachers each year before deducting union dues from their paycheck.

April 7, 2021

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An interdunal wetland at Miller Woods in Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Lawmakers Dial Back Controversial Wetlands Bill

The bill change also alters mitigation requirements, which Republican Rep. Harold Slager, of Schererville, said is meant to help property owners cut down costs associated with wetlands upkeep.

April 7, 2021

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Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said eliminating handgun licenses could have "devastating consequences."

Indiana Senate Blocking Repeal Of State Handgun Permit Law

Republicans easily pushed the proposal through the Indiana House, but Senate leaders have decided against taking up the bill in the final weeks of this year's legislative session.

April 7, 2021

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doctor coat

Senate Approves Bill That Pushes Abortion Reversal Claim

Indiana doctors would be forced to tell patients about so-called “abortion reversal” protocols under legislation approved by the Senate Tuesday.

April 7, 2021

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Protesters at the Monroe Co. Courthouse

Under House-Approved Bill, State Police To Prioritize Protecting Monuments, Statues

SB 187, requires Indiana State Police to prioritize investigation of anyone who damages or just vandalizes a monument, memorial, statue or other “commemorative” property, both public and private.

April 7, 2021

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Aletheia Church sign

Religious Organizations Shielded From Health Orders Under Bill Passed By House

Religious organizations would be shielded from many health orders in future public emergencies under legislation approved by the House Tuesday.

April 7, 2021

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masked hoosiers

House-Approved Bill Would Restrict Local Health Officials During Emergency

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Indiana Republican lawmakers to change the way local health officials are allowed to do their jobs during a public emergency.

April 6, 2021

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Indiana has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country.

Pregnant Worker Bill, Passed By General Assembly, Set To Become Law

A bill telling pregnant workers they can ask for workplace accommodations without retaliation is one step away from becoming law after it passed a final vote in the General Assembly.

April 6, 2021

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Indiana has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country.

Proposed Indiana Voting Law Change Faces Corporate Criticism

The bill’s Republican sponsors say the proposal is aimed at preventing voter fraud by having similar voter ID requirements for mail voting as the state requires of people casting ballots in-person at polling sites.

April 5, 2021

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ISTA

Bill Aimed At Indiana Teacher Union Clears House Committee, Now Heads To The Floor

Teachers could be required to take extra steps to keep their union membership if legislation headed to the House floor advances.

April 2, 2021

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Gov. Eric Holcomb at a podium.

Holcomb Signs Police Reform, School Funding Bills Into Law

Bills aimed at increasing police accountability and ensuring Indiana’s public schools receive full funding for all students during the coronavirus pandemic were among 19 measures signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb Thursday.

April 2, 2021

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Cherrish Pryor General Assembly

Indiana Democrats, Republicans Hoping For More Diverse Legislature After Heckling Incident

The state GOP says increasing diversity within the party is a grassroots effort, and won't happen overnight.

April 1, 2021

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House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers), right, said he and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville), left, don't agree with Gov. Eric Holcomb, center, over the constitutionality of a bill allowing lawmakers to call a special session.

Legislative Leaders, Governor Likely Headed To Court Over Emergency Powers Issue

Gov. Eric Holcomb and the legislature appear headed for a court battle over a bill that would allow lawmakers to call themselves into special session.

April 1, 2021

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Indiana lawmakers haven't increased the state's cigarette tax since 2007.

Senate Republicans Won't Include Cigarette Tax Hike In Budget

Senate Republicans won’t include an increase in the state’s cigarette tax in their budget proposal.

April 1, 2021

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Amendment Strikes Compromise Between Wind Companies And Indiana Counties

A new amendment in House Bill 1381 allows counties that have restrictive wind farm ordinances to keep them, but also encourages them to allow wind farms in special districts.

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April 1, 2021

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Advocacy Groups Urge Funding For Food Banks, Domestic Violence Victims, Mental Health

Emily Weikert Bryant is the executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. She noted food banks haven’t received an increase in the state budget for more than a decade.

April 1, 2021

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Local Health Officials Restricted By Proposed Legislation

Sen. Chris Garten’s (R-Charlestown) legislation, SB 5, says the local legislative body – county commissioners or a city council – would have to approve any health action that goes further than the state’s orders.

March 31, 2021

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Senate Committee Advances 'Anti-Science' Abortion Reversal Bill

Parents giving consent for their child for an abortion would have to get that consent notarized under legislation approved by a Senate panel Wednesday.

March 31, 2021

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Amendment Would Waive Liability For Company In Pilot Program On CO2 Storage

The hydrogen production facility in Terre Haute is part of a state pilot program to test out carbon capture and storage technology.

March 31, 2021

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Holcomb To Veto Bill Allowing Lawmakers To Call Special Session During Emergency

Holcomb – in an opinion supported by legal experts – said the Indiana Constitution only allows the governor to call a special session.

March 30, 2021

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Bill On Attorney's Fees Could Affect Indiana Environmental Lawsuits

Environmental groups and some lawmakers worry proposed legislation could pressure regulators to approve pollution permits they would otherwise deny.

March 29, 2021

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Bill That Aims To Lower The Costs Of Retiring Coal Plants Early Heads To Holcomb's Desk

A bill that would create a pilot program to study a financing tool for retiring coal plants early passed the House Monday and is headed to Governor Holcomb’s desk.

March 29, 2021

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Senate To Hear Pregnant Worker Accommodation Bill

Proponents of accommodations want to see legislation passed that goes beyond existing protections in federal discrimination and disability laws. Several bills this session that would’ve done that died without a hearing.

March 29, 2021

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Senate Approves Potentially Unconstitutional Bill On Emergency Powers

The Senate approved a bill Monday that allows the General Assembly to call itself into special session during a statewide public emergency – legislation that could be unconstitutional.

March 26, 2021

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Weekly Statehouse Update: Unemployment Fraud To Holcomb, COVID-19 Restrictions

Senate lawmakers opt against major changes to the emergency powers bill. Unemployment fraud legislation is headed to the governor’s desk. And House Republicans block debate on redistricting reform.

March 26, 2021

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Amendment Would Give Indiana The Power To Grant Coal Ash Permits Instead Of Feds

As of 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency now allows states to make up their own coal ash permitting program as long as it’s approved by the agency and “as protective as” federal coal ash rules.

March 26, 2021

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Equity At Center Of Indiana School Funding Debate

The proposed K-12 funding plan in Indiana’s next two-year state budget adds $378 million. That includes an increase in base per student funding -- 1.25% during the first year and 2.5% in the second year.

March 25, 2021

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Bill Amended To Give Finance Authority, Utility Consumers A Voice On State Energy Task Force

The amendment doesn’t address a concern raised by Democratic lawmakers who want to see a more equal number of Democrats and Republicans on the task force.

March 25, 2021

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Indiana House Republicans Block Debate On Redistricting Reform

Democrats have long pushed for an independent commission to draw the state’s legislative district lines. House Republicans used to support that too, until the last few years.

March 24, 2021

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Indiana Lawmakers Send Debate On School Choice Expansion To State Budget Hearings

Lawmakers' efforts to expand school choice options are facing pushback from more than a hundred school corporations in Indiana, but a top lawmaker says a key piece of legislation that’s part of that effort won't have another hearing.

March 24, 2021

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Unemployment Fraud Bill Clears General Assembly, Now Goes To Governor

If signed into law, people who knowingly underreport wages or falsify facts on unemployment benefits applications will be required to repay it and could face civil penalties.

March 22, 2021

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Civics Education Bill Steps From Final Passage, Praised For Potential To Protect Democracy

A bill that would require Hoosier middle schoolers to take one semester of civics education is just steps away from final passage.

March 19, 2021

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Senate Committee Considers Specific COVID-19 Liability Protections For Medical Providers

Indiana senators are considering a second COVID-19 liability bill aiming to further protect medical providers from lawsuits more than a month after passing through the House.

March 19, 2021

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Weekly Statehouse Update: New Secretary Of State, Police Reform To Holcomb’s Desk

Indiana has a new secretary of state. Landmark police reform is headed to the governor’s desk. And legislation on the governor’s emergency powers was significantly scaled back.

March 19, 2021

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Lawmakers Back Off Proposed Restrictions On Governor's Emergency Powers

Senate lawmakers dramatically scaled back a plan to restrict the governor’s emergency powers, used extensively during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 18, 2021

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Indiana University Professor: Pesticide Fines Bill Won't Stop Dicamba Drift

Dicamba has been known to drift off of the farm fields where it’s applied and damage neighboring crops.

March 18, 2021

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Lawmakers Aim To End 2021 Session A Week Early

Indiana legislative leaders say they want to end the 2021 session more than a week early. And they plan to take the unusual step of moving up their deadlines to do so.

March 17, 2021

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Landmark Police Reform Bill Heads To Governor's Desk

The bill, HB 1006, requires all police to undergo de-escalation training and makes it easier for the state to de-certify those who commit misconduct, even without a criminal conviction.

March 16, 2021

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Indiana General Assembly Approves Virtual School Funding Bill, Sends To Holcomb

The Senate approved the final form of Senate Bill 2 Tuesday, after lawmakers in the House gave their final approval on the legislation last week. 

March 15, 2021

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Bill Changing Fines For Pesticide Misuse Heads To Holcomb's Desk

The legislation aims to crack down on people who misuse things like dicamba — a weed killer that’s been known to drift off of farm fields and kill neighboring crops.

March 12, 2021

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Weekly Statehouse Update: Governor Powers Testimony Gets Tense, IBLC Touts Progress

Tense exchanges between Holcomb administration officials and lawmakers. The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus touts progress. And solving jail overcrowding. Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

March 12, 2021

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Indiana Lawmakers Change Bill To Offer Schools Funding For FAFSA Filers

Indiana lawmakers are working on a bill to increase the number of Hoosier students who file the federal application for college financial aid.

March 11, 2021

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Lawmakers Clash With Administration Officials Over Emergency Powers Bills

Lawmakers had tense exchanges with members of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration Thursday over legislation that would curb the governor’s emergency powers.

March 11, 2021

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Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Praises Progress Around 'Call To Action' Days

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus says its “call to action days” – bringing advocates to the Statehouse – are making an impact on the legislature.

March 9, 2021

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Indiana Police Reform Bill Sails Through Senate Committee

A bipartisan bill aimed at increasing police accountability and enacting criminal justice reform advanced to the full Indiana Senate after a committee unanimously approved the measure Tuesday.

March 9, 2021

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Lawmakers' Next Step In Reducing Jail Overcrowding Is Local Justice Councils

House Bill 1068, approved by a Senate committee Tuesday, creates local Justice Reinvestment Advisory Councils that could help solve Indiana’s jail overcrowding problem.

March 5, 2021

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Weekly Statehouse Update: Slow Start To Second Half, Virtual Funding Nears Passage

The second half of the General Assembly’s session got off to a slow start: Senate lawmakers debated the details of a program to help small businesses and a bill to guarantee schools their full funding is closer to passage. 

March 5, 2021

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Dozens Of Indiana School Boards, Teachers Denounce Republican School Choice Bills

House Bill 1005 would expand the state's school voucher program and create a new funding option for some families not enrolled in public schools. 

March 5, 2021

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Black Lawmakers Asking For GOP Accountability After Heckling Incident

The head of Indiana’s House Republicans says he will not tolerate unruly behavior from his GOP colleagues.

March 4, 2021

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Lawmakers Debate Guidelines For Small Business Recovery Money

The legislation essentially puts into law a program created by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation last year, using federal COVID-19 relief dollars.

March 2, 2021

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Highway Speed Cameras Bill Likely Dead In 2021 Session

Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) has authored a bill to allow speed cameras in highway construction zones for two years now. He said its biggest obstacle has nothing to do with Indiana.

February 26, 2021

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Weekly Statehouse Update: Session Reaches Halfway Point, House GOP Approves Budget

The Indiana General Assembly wraps up the first half of its session: the House passes the state budget, the Senate shackles the governor over emergency powers and elimination of Indiana’s handgun licenses is a step closer. 

February 26, 2021

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Experts, Organizers Weigh In On The Potential Consequences Of 'Rioting' Bill On Protests

More than 100 businesses across downtown Indy, Fort Wayne and Lafayette were damaged after largely peaceful BLM protests escalated into clashes with police last summer. Senate Bill 198 is a response to those protests.

February 25, 2021

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Indiana Senate Democrats Lament Missed Opportunities In Session's First Half

Indiana Senate Democrats say Republicans haven’t focused on helping working Hoosiers in the first half of the 2021 session.

February 24, 2021

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Bill Seeking Ban On Local Housing Rules Gets Sidelined

Legislative leaders have sidelined a proposed ban on adopting local housing design standards in Indiana cities and counties.

February 24, 2021

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Senate Approves Tight Restrictions Over Governor's Emergency Powers

The bill is a reaction to many lawmakers’ unhappiness with executive orders Gov. Eric Holcomb issued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

February 24, 2021

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Passing Stopped Indiana School Buses Could Get Pricier

Under the bill, a first stop-arm violation would be a Class B infraction accompanied by a fine of up to $1,000. Any subsequent violations would be Class A infractions with fines of up to $10,000 per incident.

February 23, 2021

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Senate Narrowly OKs Bill Overriding Local Prosecutors

The Indiana attorney general and special prosecutors would be empowered to take over cases that local prosecutors won’t charge under legislation narrowly approved by the Senate.

February 23, 2021

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Indiana Black Caucus Calls For Reprimand Of House Lawmakers, Implicit Bias Training

IBLC Chair Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) said there should be reprimands for all involved – but that they don’t need to be punitive.

February 23, 2021

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Speaker Huston Pledges Steps Forward After Racial Tensions In House

Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said his chamber needs to take steps forward after the “step backward” last week that culminated with lawmakers having to be physically separated from each other.

February 23, 2021

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House GOP Approves $36 Billion State Budget, Sending It To Senate

House Republicans approved a new, two-year, $36 billion budget Monday they say boosts education and helps businesses recover from the pandemic. Democrats, however, say the GOP budget fails to adequately lift people up.

February 23, 2021

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Indiana Is A Step Closer To Eliminating Handgun Licenses To Carry In Public

Bill author Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) said the license is nothing more than an unnecessary hurdle for people who are constitutionally allowed to carry a handgun.

February 22, 2021

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February Marks 10 Years Since Indiana House Democrats' Walkout To Illinois

Ten years ago, Indiana House Democrats walked out of the Statehouse and headed to Illinois in the middle of session, halting all legislative business for more than a month.

February 22, 2021

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Lots Of Talk, But No Action On A Workshare Unemployment Program In Legislature

In a workshare program, employers could plan with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development so their employees could get partial unemployment benefits for lost hours of pay while keeping their jobs. 

February 19, 2021

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Weekly Statehouse Update: School Choice Expansion, 'Defund The Police' Ban Rejected

School voucher expansion clears the House. The Senate passes a bill to more harshly penalize rioters. And a measure banning “defund the police” is soundly rejected. 

February 19, 2021

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Bill On Teacher Union Dues Advances To House After An Unusual Vote

Jennifer Smith-Margraf, Indiana State Teachers Association vice president, said her union is being targeted by lawmakers, and will continue to fight the legislation in the House. 

February 19, 2021

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Indiana Senate Rolling Back Some COVID-19 Precautions

The Senate has staggered its staff throughout session – half at home, half in the office – to avoid losing lots of people to quarantine if an outbreak occurred. Now, all staff will work in-person the whole week.

February 19, 2021

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Tensions Flare As Some Republicans Boo, Heckle Black Democrats On House Floor

Two Black Democratic lawmakers expressed concerns on the House floor about what they viewed as discriminatory issues with a bill and a group of Republicans booed and heckled them.

February 18, 2021

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Governor Holcomb Signs COVID-19 Civil Liability Protections Bill Into Law

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law today Thursday legislation giving businesses and institutions liability protections from most COVID-19 lawsuits.

February 18, 2021

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Indiana Lawmakers Force Through Ban On Local Rental Rules

Indiana cities will be largely blocked from regulating rental properties after state lawmakers voted Wednesday to override the governor’s veto of the prohibition.

February 18, 2021

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Pregnant Worker Bill Without Mandated Accommodations Advances

Legislation to allow pregnant women to ask employers for accommodations at work was heard in the Indiana House on Tuesday, but critics say it’s too weak and doesn’t actually change anything.

February 17, 2021

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Several Career and Technical Education Classes Could Lose Funding In Budget Proposal

High school courses in areas like culinary arts and cosmetology could lose state funding if a budget proposal from Republican lawmakers passes.

February 17, 2021

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Senate Bill Would Severely Limit Governor's Power To Declare Emergencies

The governor’s authority to declare disaster emergencies would be severely restricted under legislation unanimously approved by a Senate committee Tuesday.

February 17, 2021

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Bill To Raise Penalties On Rioters Clears Indiana Senate

People involved in protests that turn violent would face new or harsher criminal penalties under legislation easily approved by the Indiana Senate Tuesday.

February 17, 2021

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School Choice Expansion Bill Approved By House Amid Contentious Debate

Controversial legislation that would create Indiana's first educational savings account program and expand the eligibility of state-funded private school vouchers to families with double the state's median income passed out of the House Tuesday.

February 16, 2021

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Under Senate Bill, Local Prosecutors Usurped By Attorney General, Special Prosecutor

Some Indiana Senate Republicans want the state to take over prosecution of crimes that a local prosecutor won’t charge.

February 16, 2021

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Indiana Senate Rejects Bill Banning 'Defund The Police'

The Indiana Senate thoroughly rejected legislation Monday that would have tied the hands of local governments when managing their public safety budgets.

February 16, 2021

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COVID-19 Civil Liability Protections Bill On Its Way To The Governor's Desk

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signature is all that separates Hoosier businesses, health care systems and schools from COVID-19 liability protections.

February 16, 2021

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Former Ed Chiefs McCormick, Ritz & Reed Criticize Voucher Expansion Legislation

A bipartisan group of former Indiana education chiefs are speaking out against Republican-led legislation to expand the state’s private school voucher program.

February 15, 2021

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House Committee Passes 'Unproven And Unethical' Abortion Reversal Bill

Indiana doctors would be forced to tell patients their medication-induced abortions can be reversed under legislation approved by a House committee Monday. The broader scientific community says that claim is unproven and unethical.

February 15, 2021

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Bill Would Block Future Election Changes By Governor, Election Commission

Indiana’s governor and Election Commission would be blocked from ever again changing how and when an election is conducted under a bill passed by a Senate committee.

February 15, 2021

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Indiana Handgun Licenses Would Now Be Eliminated In 2022, Under Committee Change

Indiana’s license requirement to carry a handgun in public would now be eliminated in March 2022, instead of July 2021.

February 15, 2021

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House Bill Prevents Local Governments From Banning Kids' Lemonade Stands

Indiana lawmakers want to make sure local governments don’t ban children from operating lemonade stands. And there's a bill unanimously approved by the House and on its way to the Senate that does just that.

February 12, 2021

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Bill Would Create Guidelines For Wind And Solar Farms, Override Stricter Local Laws

Henry County Councilor Betsy Mills said she’s not against clean energy, but she is against the state infringing upon the rights of local governments to decide what’s best for their communities.

February 12, 2021

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Weekly Statehouse Update: House GOP Budget Proposal, Eliminating Handgun Licenses

House Republicans unveil their budget proposal. Lawmakers debate eliminating Indiana’s license to carry a handgun. And the Senate approves a bill giving local city and county leaders more power to overturn health orders. 

February 12, 2021

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Senate COVID-19 Liability Protections Passes House, House Version Still Moving Through

Senate Bill 1 would limit legal action from Hoosiers against companies, hospitals, schools and other organizations for damages related to COVID-19.

February 11, 2021

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Bill Author, Purdue Expert Urge Hearing For Bill On Lead Testing In Preschools, Day Cares

A state House bill would require preschools and day care centers to test for lead in drinking water and take action if lead levels are too high.

February 11, 2021

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House GOP Budget Prioritizes School Vouchers, Cuts Cigarette Tax Hike In Half

The House GOP budget prioritizes increases for school vouchers and virtual schools.

February 11, 2021

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Bill Expanding Long-Term Care Visitation Moves To House

Under the bill, long-term care facilities would also be required to participate in the state health department’s Essential Family Caregivers Program during a declared emergency, a public health emergency, or similar crisis.

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