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Update on Legislation We've Been Following

Linda Hanson | Published on 2/28/2022

Updated 3-9-22
Education, voting rights, environment, firearms, abortion, girls' sports, and agency rules have all been actively addressed in this short session of the Indiana General Assembly.  Adjournment came in the early hours today.

Approved bills now go to the governor for signature, veto, or inaction (in which case the bill becomes law in 7 days). 

HB 1041, Transgender sports ban.  On Feb. 16, the Senate's education committee voted in favor of House Bill 1041, which would prohibit transgender girls from playing girls sports at the K-12 schools level.  The Senate passed it March 1, 32-18.   The controversial measure has been opposed by the ACLU and the LGBTQ community who say it is discriminatory. Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland, said she wrote the bill to protect fair play in girls’ sports.  Since the Senate made no changes to the bill passed earlier by the House, it goes directly to Gov. Holcomb for signature.  

HB 1077—The bill with Permitless Carry died in the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee, but in Conference  on March 2 the original House language was substituted for the language in SB 209.  See the archived video here: SB 209 Conference Committee Video.  All 4 caucuses must sign and both chambers must approve the substitution. 
UPDATE: The language was also inserted into HB 1296, and on March 8 the Conference Committee report passed the House 68-30 and was adopted by the Senate.  It goes now to the Governor.
Notably, the following all had their names added as co-authors: Representatives Abbott D, Baird, Barrett, Bartels, Behning, Borders, Carbaugh, Cherry, Cook, Davis M, Davisson J., DeVon, Eberhart, Ellington, Engleman, Frye, Goodrich, Gutwein, Heaton, Heine, Hostettler, Huston, Jeter C, Jordan, Judy, King J, Lauer, Ledbetter C, Lehe, Lehman, Leonard, Lindauer, Lucas, Manning, May, Mayfield, Miller, Morris, Morrison, Payne Z, Prescott, Snow, Smaltz, C, Steuerwald, Teshka J, Thompson, VanNatter, Vermilion A, Wesco, Young J.

HB 1100, Agency rules, (“no more stringent than”) was revived! It gives the legislature more oversight over Indiana's state agencies and makes it more difficult for them to create administrative rules.  The bill was of particular concern for environmental issues because of the “no more stringent than” clause.   See Hoosier Environmental Council’s analysis:

In the Senate committee to which it was assigned, the chair withdrew the bill without testimony or a vote.  In his lengthy comment, Senate Commerce and Technology Committee Chair Sen. Chip Perfect, R-Lawrenceburg, focused on SB 264 creating a task force on regulatory rule making and the need to complete that work first. So, as Kristina Lindborg from our Natural Resources Advocacy Team stated, it was tactically effective for us to have used the argument that SB 264 must be implemented first.  

UPDATE: That argument didn't hold.  The language was inserted into HB 1211 and the Conference Committee Report was adopted by the House 63-28 and adopted by the Senate March 8.  It now goes to the Governor.

HB 1116, Electronic Voting Machines & Absentee Voting, The Senate Elections committee removed the controversial requirement that voters requesting an absentee ballot confirm under threat of perjury that they are unable to vote during all of the days available for early, in-person voting and on Election Day. The bill does specify that voters would have to provide either their driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number in order to request an absentee mail-in ballot online.

See a letter to the Senate Elections Committee:  HB 1116 letter to Senate Elections Committee

The legislation also moves from 2029 to 2024 the date by which counties must provide voter verified paper printouts for electronic voting machines.  
See difficulties and complications with this legislation:HB 1116 letter to Senate Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the measure by a 7-4 vote on Feb. 24, and the Senate approved it on March 2 by a 35-10 vote.  

See Kaitlin Lange’s article here: IndyStar HB 1116

After some negotiation the House concurred 95-0 today, March 7. 
The final version of the legislation is here:  HB 1116 Final   
It heads to Gov. Holcomb's desk now.

HB 1134, Curriculum Control, IS DEAD.  It was heavily amended by the Senate Education Committee Feb. 16 and 23 and awaited approval by the Senate. It did not receive a second reading today (February 28), the deadline for bills to advance, so it is dead for this session.   See our joint letter of opposition Letter opposing HB 1134

Thanks to all who sent messages to their legislators in opposition to the bill--your efforts did make a difference!
Let's make that last!  

Contact your own Senator and Representative, as well as Senator Rodric Bray, the President Pro Tempore,, and Representative Todd Huston, House Speaker,, to express your thanks for the bill dying in the Senate, and share your opposition to any further efforts to include parts of HB 1134 in other bills in the future.  Remember this legislation as you query candidates for election this year!

To find your legislators:

HB 1217, Coerced Abortion, passed the Senate Feb. 22 by a 38-10 vote. The bill returned to the House, which had already approved the initial bill, for the chamber to vote on whether to concur with the minor changes made to the bill on the Senate side.  On March 1 the House voted to concur, 75-17.   LWVIN opposed this bill as "redundant and unnecessary," and argued it does not target the root issues of domestic and sexual violence.  It heads to Gov. Holcomb's desk now.   

SB 17 , Material harmful to minors, Senate Bill 17 would have removed a protection for K-12 schools and public libraries from the state's law against distributing "harmful material" to minors.  The bill passed the Senate but died in the House. 
Language from SB 17 has now been inserted into HB 1094--see Conference Committee video here--
and into HB 1363.   
The Conference Committee for HB 1363 scheduled for March 8 was cancelled; the same day the House reconsidered and concurred 85-0 with the Senate amended bill approved 46-2 on March 1. 
On March 8 the Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report for HB 1094, and the House approved it 72-24. The specific language removing protection for K-12 schools and public libraries, however, was added at the last minute into HB1369, and it was defeated in the Senate, 21-29.

  SB 265 and HB 1249, Carbon Sequestration, died, but language granting legal protection to the Wabash Valley Resources underground carbon capture and sequestration project reemerged in HB 1103.

Reminder:  These bills would give liability protection to this project in the Terre Haute area.  Each was initially approved in its chamber of origin and then passed on to the second chamber.  After a swell of opposition (thanks for your actions!), the Senate bill was defeated in the House, and the Senate did not hear the House bill in committee.  However, because the language had been passed initially by both chambers, it could reemerge in a different bill in conference committee—see March 7 video of   HB 1103 Conference Committee .  The House concurred with Senate amendments 92-4 on March 8, and the bill heads to the Governor now for signature.

GOOD NEWS: Two proactive bills to address Maternal Mortality and a bill to plug a Rape Loophole are heading to the Governor for signatures.

HB 1140: Increased Medicaid coverage: Senate amendments to this bill, which has potential to improve postpartum individuals’ health, were not approved by the House, so a conference committee was scheduled.  But the House reconsidered and concurred in Senate amendments, 93 to 1.  The bill now heads to the Governor's desk for signature. 

HB 1294: Shackling of Pregnant Inmates: this bill received its final concurrence vote in the House 89-0, and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.   As a reminder, this bill prohibits the shackling of pregnant inmates in labor and sets guidelines for restraint use for pregnant inmates. 

HB 1079: Elements of Rape: provides that a person who has sexual intercourse with someone who attempts to "Physically, verbally, or by other visible conduct refuse the person's acts" commits rape.  After years of failed attempts to change Indiana law, a bill that would better define "consent" is heading to Gov. Holcomb's desk.  The Senate vote was unanimous & the House voted 90-1 to concur with the Senate amendments.