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2/24 Hendricks County Chambers Weekly Statehouse Update

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

With just two weeks left to go in the session, controversy characterized much of the legislative business addressed this week.

HB 1399 was heard for the first time in the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee on Monday, but after nearly three hours of testimony, it did not receive a vote. Environmental advocates were alarmed at the prospect of changing the definition of toxic PFAS chemicals allowing some products with them to be labeled “PFAS-free”. Proponents, including chemical manufacturers, want to maintain PFAS’ usage in “essential” items where there are no alternatives. Bill sponsor Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) said, “The bill is designed to preserve the potential uses for these products and uses while focusing on future potential regulatory efforts on the PFAS chemistries that are of potential concern.” There is one more opportunity for the bill to receive a vote in committee before the Senate committee deadline.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a stop in Indiana on Tuesday to promote congressional term limits. After extending an invitation to both House and Senate Republican caucuses to discuss “a variety of policy issues,” the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-5 against HJR 3, which would have called for a constitutional convention to propose term limits for members of Congress.

HB 1265, a bill addressing various election matters, took on a controversial new amendment in the Senate Elections Committee on Monday. Amendment #7, whose author was not identified, prevents an attorney general candidate who had been disbarred or suspended without automatic reinstatement within one year of the election. Attorney General Todd Rokita, who has disciplinary complaints pending, could be prevented from running if his law license is suspended without automatic reinstatement should this bill become law. A spokesperson for the Attorney General criticized the amendment, arguing that it takes power away from voters and taxpayers and gives it to “secret committees.” The amended bill passed in committee with a vote of 6-2, and it will now be considered by the full Senate body.

Juries hearing civil lawsuits related to car accidents would get to hear whether the victim was wearing a seatbelt and use the information when considering damages under HB 1090, which passed 36-13 in the Senate on Monday. The measure is part of the Indiana Department of Transportation’s agency bill and has faced criticism for being included when the concept died during the last three legislative sessions. Nevertheless, the bill passed in both the House and Senate, so it is now heading to the Governor for review and signature.

HB 1199 – the response to last year’s enabling legislation for an economic enhancement district in Indianapolis–underwent major changes in the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee on Tuesday as an amendment revamped tax rates for houses, commercial properties, and apartments, added opt-in provisions, created an additional seat to an advisory board, and set restrictions on the boundaries of the taxing district. With those changes, the bill passed out of committee unanimously, but was then recommitted to the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure. Typically bills sent to that committee mean they are either dead, or need some special handling by leadership.

A bill allowing financial institutions to change contract terms on customers without explicit acceptance narrowly passed the Senate on Tuesday in a 28-21 vote and now moves one step closer to the governor’s desk. HB 1284 was introduced in response to two legal cases in which the courts sided with consumers over banks and credit unions, reversing those rulings. The bipartisan effort to defeat the bill failed, so it will now return to the House where members can either choose to accept the Senate version or send it to a conference committee to negotiate compromise language.

The IndyGo bill, SB 52, faced nearly three hours of mostly opposition testimony in committee on Tuesday, but the House Roads and Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) said that further bill amendments and a vote would not take place until February 27. That’s the House’s deadline to pass bills out of committees.

In happier news (pun intended) - happy hour may be returning to Indiana. HB 1086 passed in the Senate in a vote of 38-10 on Tuesday, but the bill looks a little different than when it left the House. Happy hour discounts are still on the menu, but there are limits on the amount of time and the hours in which the discounts can be offered. The portion allowing carrying out alcoholic beverages has also been removed. At this point, it appears a compromise will need to be hashed out in a conference committee. A dissent on the Senate version of the bill has already been filed in the House.

Last week, we told you about the controversy university DEI bill SB 202 stirred up during its House Education Committee hearing. The committee took a vote on Wednesday, passing the measure along party lines, sending it to the full House chamber for consideration. This bill also shares similarities with another introduced in Nebraska this year that would ban DEI programs at state colleges and eliminate tenure, giving this policy proposal a national angle.

What’s Next

Deadline days are upon us. There are only a few more days for bills to make it out of committee before the House deadline on Tuesday and Senate deadline on Thursday. Thursday will also be the last day for Senate bills to be amended on the House floor (also known as second reading deadline). Conference committees will begin soon to negotiate compromise language on bills that underwent changes during their time in the second legislative chamber. Conference committees can be scheduled with very little notice, so we’ll be keeping an eye on postings during the long days to come in the run-up to Sine Die (which leadership has said is likely March 8th).

Hendricks County Chambers Update

With just two weeks left of legislative session, it has been a flurry of committee hearings, meetings, and negotiations. Let’s dig in …



HB 1001 was heard in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday and passed out along party lines. Amendments were added to strike the drivers license language, updates reporting requirements, allows family members to be eligible for scholarships, changing ESA accounts and the purchase of curriculum materials, and career navigation language. The bill was recommitted to Senate Appropriations, which has not released a calendar for hearings this week. We will keep you posted.



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 was amended on the floor with some technical changes (nothing of concern to the underlying bill or purpose). The bill will be eligible for final vote as early as Monday. Assuming it passes the full Senate (which we fully anticipate), because it was amended in the Senate, the House author will then decide if he agrees to the change (and consent), or oppose the changes (and dissent) and take it to conference committee.

SB 2, the bipartisan child care omnibus priority bill, was heard on February 22nd in House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee. The bill passed out of committee 8-0 and it was recommitted to House Ways and Means Committee. It is scheduled to be heard there on Tuesday, February 27th. We expect bipartisan support on the bill moving forward.

SB 147, a bill dealing with child care property tax exemptions was referred to House Ways and Means and has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. Given that the House Committee Report deadline is Tuesday, and it is not on the current calendar for Ways and Means that is meeting on Tuesday, this bill will likely die this session. Since it passed out of one chamber (the Senate), it could be eligible for conference committee - so we will keep a close eye out that in the coming weeks.


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