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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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June 14, 2021

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Indiana Rushes To Spend Virus Relief Aid On New Jobs Program

Indiana legislators scrambled in the final days of their session to make decisions on spending the state’s $3 billion share of the $350 billion in federal coronavirus relief money approved this year for state and local governments.

May 10, 2021

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The Senate Chamber

Local Emergency Health Rules Voided Without Local Body Approval After Veto Override

The bill, SB 5, arose after Hoosiers complained to their lawmakers that local health officials went too far during the COVID-19 pandemic, shutting down or restricting some businesses.

May 10, 2021

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Governor Holcomb at NRA

Indiana Lawmakers Could Override Local Health Control Veto

Indiana legislators are returning to the Statehouse for a possible vote on overriding the governor’s veto of a bill giving local elected officials the power to block county or city public health orders issued during emergencies.

May 5, 2021

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The Indiana Statehouse in the summer.

Lawmakers To Meet Monday For Potential Veto Overrides

The Senate will meet first next week, since both measures are Senate bills. The House will also meet Monday. A simple majority in both chambers is all it takes to override a veto.

May 4, 2021

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eric holcomb headshot

Holcomb Vetoes Bill Tying Hands Of Local Health Officials During Emergencies

The legislation would have barred local health officials from issuing emergency rules that went further than state restrictions.

April 30, 2021

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Much of the attention as the Indiana General Assembly wrapped up regular business this session was on the budget, as lawmakers approved a nearly $2 billion increase in K-12 education funding.

Referendum Transparency, Teacher Training: A Look At Some Of Indiana's New Education Laws

Indiana lawmakers wrapped up the legislative session with new money for schools and a controversial expansion of school choice, but several other education policy changes have been signed into law that aren't related to the budget.

April 30, 2021

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Greg Taylor

Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor On Why He Voted Against 2021 State Budget

Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor voted against the  state’s two-year budget, even though it  passed the Indiana General Assembly with bi-partisan support.

April 30, 2021

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Gov. Eric Holcomb

Indiana ‘Abortion Reversal’ Bill Signed By Governor

Doctors in Indiana would be required to tell women undergoing drug-induced abortions about a disputed treatment for potentially stopping the abortion process under a measure that’s been signed into law.

April 30, 2021

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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.

Governor Signs Controversial Wetlands Bill Into Law

Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a controversial bill into law that takes away state protections for many of Indiana’s wetlands.

April 29, 2021

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Indiana Ends State Interventions For Failing Schools, Requires New Performance Dashboard

The results of Indiana's takeover of a handful of academically failing schools are mixed, at best. The takeovers didn't get the results officials wanted, and caused a lot of frustration about local control. 

April 27, 2021

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Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks at a COVID-19 briefing.

Indiana Governor Sues Legislature Over Emergency Powers

The lawsuit argues that the Legislature is “usurping a power given exclusively to the governor” under the state constitution to call lawmakers into a special session.

April 27, 2021

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A Shell gas station pump.

Holcomb Vetoes Bill Requiring Label On E15 Gasoline

Holcomb said the Environmental Protection Agency already requires E15 to be labeled and called Senate Enrolled Act 303 an “unnecessary and confusing” additional layer of government.

April 26, 2021

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Members of the Nature Conservancy coalition with their letter asking Gov. Eric Holcomb to veto the wetlands bill.

More Than 100 Groups Ask Holcomb To Veto Wetlands Bill

Supporters of the bill said Indiana’s current wetlands law is too strict — causing home prices to go up and creating conflicts between farmers and state environmental regulators.

April 23, 2021

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A child wearing a face mask and carrying a basket.

Lawmakers Nix Updates To Program Meant To Help Impoverished Families With Children

The bill, HB 1009, started in the House as a proposal to prevent income earned in worker training programs from counting against government benefits. 

April 23, 2021

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Senate lawmakers were divided between their chamber floor and the balcony for the 2021 legislative session, in order to better socially distance.

'Nothing Was Normal' About 2021 Legislative Session Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Even the session’s finale was altered by COVID-19. “We are going to have a different type of motion this year," Speaker Todd Huston said. "It’s going to be missing a couple of words.”

April 23, 2021

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The Indiana Statehouse.

Weekly Statehouse Update: Session Ends, Lawmakers Pass $37 Billion Two-Year Budget

Indiana’s legislative session came to an end Thursday, though lawmakers expect to return in the fall for redistricting.

April 23, 2021

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greg taylor at microphone

Republicans Call 2021 Legislative Session 'Transformational;' Democrats Praise Progress

The session ended on a note of bipartisanship, with almost every Democrat joining Republicans to vote for the new state budget.

April 22, 2021

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Only two members of the Indiana House voted against the new state budget, both of them Republicans.

$37 Billion State Budget Clears Legislature With Shockingly Overwhelming Support

Maybe the biggest surprise of the 2021 legislative session happened on its final day when a new, $37 billion state budget passed with almost no opposition.

April 22, 2021

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Department of Workforce Development

No State Income Tax Relief For Unemployed Hoosiers In Bill Headed To Holcomb

Rep. Dan Leonard (R-Huntington) argued it’s only fair to tax unemployment insurance when some Hoosiers received more than they would working at a job paying $20 an hour.

April 22, 2021

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Indiana Bill Approved To Ban Government Vaccine Passports

The bill doesn’t place any limits on private businesses. It allows government agencies to continue keeping immunization records for public health administration and provide people with their own immunization records.

April 21, 2021

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The Indiana Statehouse at night.

Vote Near On Indiana Budget With Schools Boost, Vaping Tax

Indiana public school and teachers groups are cheering the education funding increase included in the new state budget plan that’s poised for final approval from lawmakers on Thursday.

April 21, 2021

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A poster advocating for better policies for women from a Hoosier Action statehouse rally during the 2021 legislative session.

Pregnancy Accommodations Now Available To State Workers, Law Falls Short For Private

The executive order tells state agencies they must provide pregnant workers with temporary accommodations like longer break times, the ability to sit or stand for comfort, and a private space for expressing breast milk.

April 21, 2021

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A stock photo of a truck on a road.

More Overweight Trucks Allowed On Indiana Highways Under Bill Headed To Governor

Current law sets the weight limit for trucks at 80,000 pounds. However, if you’re hauling steel, paper or agricultural products, you can get special permits to haul 120,000 pounds.

April 20, 2021

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Gov. Eric Holcomb, center, discusses the new state budget alongside, from left to right, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) and House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers)

New State Budget Will Spend Billions In State, Federal Dollars To Pay Debt, Invest In Future

The state spending plan will put $500 million into Holcomb’s new regional economic recovery program, dubbed READI.

April 20, 2021

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Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) discusses education funding in the new state budget, flanked by Gov. Eric Holcomb, left, and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville), right.

Republican Leaders Unveil State Budget With 'Historic' Education Funding

Legislative leaders are calling the new state budget a “historic win” for teachers, students and schools.

VIEW MORE STORIES

April 20, 2021

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Legislators Back Expanded Gambling At Tribe's Indiana Casino

Indiana legislators have endorsed a deal allowing the tribal casino in South Bend to become a full-fledged competitor to Indiana’s other casinos.

April 19, 2021

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Bill To Help Underserved Communities Connect To Water, Sewer Headed To Holcomb's Desk

A bill that aims to help communities with failing septic systems connect to city water and sewer service is heading to Governor Holcomb’s desk.

April 16, 2021

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Weekly Statehouse Update: GOP Overrides Veto, New Revenue Forecast For State Budget

Republicans override another Holcomb veto and a new revenue forecast projects billions more for the new state budget. Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.

April 15, 2021

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Lawmakers Have $2 Billion More In Funding For New State Budget After Revenue Forecast

Indiana lawmakers will have about $2 billion more to use in the new state budget after an updated projection of state tax revenues was unveiled Thursday.

April 15, 2021

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Republican Lawmakers Override Holcomb's Veto Of Emergency Powers Bill

Republican lawmakers set up a potential court fight Thursday when they overrode Gov. Eric Holcomb's recent veto of emergency powers legislation.

April 15, 2021

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Additional COVID-19 Liability Protections For Health Care Providers Head To Governor

A bill that will give health care providers additional protections from COVID-19 liability lawsuits is on its way to the governor’s desk.

April 14, 2021

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Bill Removing Some Wetland Protections Heads To Governor

A bill that would get rid of state protections for some wetlands in Indiana narrowly passed the Senate.

April 14, 2021

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Democratic Lawmakers Push Back On New Online Teacher Training Legislation

The American Board program operates in several other states, and supporters of the bill point out it includes data reporting for the state to evaluate the program's usefulness and quality.

April 14, 2021

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Split Senate Leads To Death Of Controversial Wind, Solar Bill

The idea was to make it easier for renewable energy companies to invest in Indiana. Right now the state is a patchwork of different local ordinances — some counties have banned wind farms altogether.

April 14, 2021

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House Sends 'Unethical' Abortion Reversal Bill To Governor

Indiana’s latest anti-abortion measure will likely soon become law after House legislators sent it to the governor Wednesday.

April 13, 2021

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New State Budget Enters Final Negotiation Phase After Senate Passage

Indiana’s new, two-year, $36 billion state budget is headed for its final negotiation phase after the Senate approved its version of the spending plan Tuesday.

April 13, 2021

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Lower-Valued Career Courses Will Keep Funding In Latest State Budget Plan

High school courses in areas including cosmetology and culinary arts will keep their state funding in a version of the budget approved by the Senate after language that would’ve cut their funding was removed from the current bill.

April 13, 2021

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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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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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'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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

April 1, 2021

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Pregnant Worker Legislation Heads To The Senate Floor

Advocates for pregnant women actively oppose HB 1309 that is headed to the Senate floor following a 6-4 vote in the committee. 

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.

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