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2/16 Hendricks County Chambers Weekly Statehouse Update

  • General Statehouse Update
  • Hendricks County Chambers Update
  • Action Items
  • Important Dates
  • Closing

Welcome back to the second half of the 2024 legislative session! Bills have officially crossed over from their chamber of origin for further consideration by the other chamber across the hall. House bills will now be considered by the Senate and vice-versa. Committees were in full-swing this week and will continue into next week.


And First Place Goes To …

HB 1383 wins the award for crossing the finish line first this year. The controversial measure rolling back wetland protections was sent to the Governor’s desk following a 32-17 vote in the Senate on February 6 and received his signature on February 12. Its passage is a win for builders and developers, but environmental groups opposed the bill throughout the process. The language will go into effect July 1, 2024.


Priority Bills Move Forward

SB 1 continues to move in spite of opposition from the Indianapolis Urban League, teachers unions, clergy, the NAACP, and the African American Coalition of Indianapolis based on its potential impact to black and brown students. The bill that would have students take the IREAD test beginning in second grade to allow time for remediation and other interventions before requiring grade retention for those who fail the test in third grade is now on to House Ways and Means. It passed the House Committee on Education 9-4 along party lines on Wednesday with new language added to create a virtual ILEARN assessment offering, set requirements for summer school intervention teachers and tutors, and carves out an exception to the retention requirement for certain students.

Senate Republican priority bill SB 5 also made progress by passing unanimously in the House Utilities Committee on Tuesday. The bill would speed up the process of replacing lead water lines at a lower cost. The bill will next be heard in House Ways and Means to address the fiscal aspect of the proposal.


Controversial Education Bill Receives Hearing

House Education heard SB 202 - a bill amending the duties of state educational institutions' diversity committee on Wednesday, drawing hours of opposition from representatives of Ball State University, Indiana University, Indiana State University, Ivy Tech Community College, Purdue University, the University of Southern Indiana, and Vincennes University - as well as many students and professors. The bill’s author, Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) said SB 202 “will improve the quality of education [Hoosier students] receive, because we all benefit – no matter your political beliefs – from being challenged and exposed to new scholarly ideas.” Detractors said the diversity reform bill would “severely damage the ability…to recruit and retain outstanding faculty.” Chairman Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) said to expect a vote at next week’s hearing.


This and That

One of the two pet stores bills moving this session, HB 1412, passed unanimously in the Senate Committee on Agriculture in spite of continued concerns about funding and local control. Opponents pointed to the lack of funding to support increased inspections and what they say would be an influx of pets being surrendered to shelters. The bill would also overturn 21 existing local ordinances preventing stores from selling pets from breeders. Nevertheless, the bill is now up for a final vote by the entire Senate body next week.

HB 1102, which loosens regulations on some childcare providers, passed 8-2 on party lines in the Senate Health Committee Wednesday. In addition to increasing the limit on the number of children supervised at home-based providers from five to seven, the bill also exempts programs operating out of schools from most licensure requirements.

HB 1264 was heard in the Senate Election Committee on Monday, but the election security bill will likely be amended before it is put up for a vote. There was over 90 minutes of discussion, with testimony focusing on how to identify non-eligible voters. Committee Chairman and bill sponsor Mike Gaskill (R-Pendleton) said he still intended to move the bill this session.

The Senate Committee on Insurance and Financial Institutions passed HB 1385 in a vote of 7-1 on Wednesday. As Indiana grapples with “ambulance deserts,” a reduced EMT workforce, and rising costs of emergency vehicles and supplies, ambulance service rates have risen to the amount of as much as $15,000 a run. With an average 2023 Medicare reimbursement rate of just $266, the bill would require greater reimbursement for ambulance services by health insurance plans. However, in the nearly two hours of bill discussion, many expressed concerns that the measure would lead to higher insurance premiums, disproportionately affecting small business owners, their employees, and customers. HB 1385 is now on its way to the full Senate for consideration.


What’s Next

Senate bills have a little more than just one week left to pass out of House Committees before their committee report deadline on February 27; House bills will have an extra two days before the Senate’s deadline on February 29. The legislature works through the President’s Day holiday, so Torchbearer Public Affairs will be back at the Statehouse on Monday. The next three weeks will go by quickly, but your team at the Statehouse will be engaging and monitoring bills of importance to you.

Hendricks County Chambers Update

Another busy week for Chamber-related issues before the Indiana General Assembly! Let’s dig right in …



HB 1001 was heard in Senate Education this week. This bill is this year’s omnibus workforce legislation and a trailer bill to HEA 1002 from last session. This legislation seeks to “reinvent high school” and allows students access to state funding for Career Scholarship Accounts (CSAs) for workforce training in high school (up to $5000 per student for job training). After testimony, the bill was held but we anticipate it will be heard again this week for amendments. We will keep you apprised of its progress.



SB 2 - the Senate Republican priority bill dealing with childcare will be heard next week in House Family and Children Affairs Committee. As a reminder, this legislation specifically addresses regulations that are hindering accessibility of childcare. Provisions in the bill comes from recommendations from last year’s interim study committee of the Public Health Committee, establishing pilot “micro-facilities” and lowering the minimum age of childcare workers. It also seeks to allow childcare workers access to childcare credits for their own children (a significant perk to employment). Please let us know if you would like to testify in support of this legislation.

Meanwhile, HB 1102 authored by Rep. Dave Heine was heard in Senate Health and Provider Services Committee this week. This legislation makes modest regulatory changes and prohibits zoning ordinances being used specifically to prohibit home child care. The bill moved out of committee by a vote of 8-2. Some members of the committee expressed concerns around health and safety that come with changing regulations. Here is the live link to your bill track for 2023.

Action Items

  • Please review your bill track and let me know of any bills of interest to you.

Important Dates:

Screenshot 2023-05-03 at 9.35.52 AM

Tuesday, February 27th - House Committee Report Deadline

Thursday, February 29th - House 2nd Reading Deadline

Thursday, February 29th - Senate Committee Report Deadline

Monday, March 4th - House 3rd Reading Deadline

Monday, March 4th - Senate 2nd Reading Deadline

Tuesday, March 5th - Senate 3rd Reading Deadline

Thursday, March 14 - Last Day to Adjourn Sine Die