Indiana News

Abortion ban, tax caps among measures for Indiana’s special legislative session

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Here’s an outline of some of the measures that Indiana lawmakers will consider in the upcoming special session:

  • An abortion ban would make exceptions for rape, incest and a risk to the life of the mother, but an affidavit would be required. An exemption also will put in place for fatal fetal anomalies. The exemptions would not be allowed after a number of weeks to be determined.
  • The state would not ban in vitro fertilization, or IFV, a medical procedure whereby an egg is fertilized by sperm in a test tube or elsewhere outside the body.
  • No new penalties are planned for doctors who perform abortions. The existing penalty that allows a doctor to have his or her license revoked if he or she performs an illegal abortion will remain in place.
  • No measure is planned to ban “morning after” pills or any forms of contraception.
  • The Indiana’s adoption tax credit would increase from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • The state government will set aside $50 million for maternal health, an expanded child adoption tax credit, and similar programs.
  • The gas use tax rate would be capped at 29.5 cents per gallon through June 30 unless the current law’s formula would create a gas tax at a lower rate. That eliminates the 1 cent increase that lawmakers put in place July 1.
  • An appropriation of $17.7 million to give replacement funds from the capped gas taxes to counties, cities and town.
  • Freezes the gas excise tax and the special fuel tax through June 30 as the rate that were in effect on June 30, 2022.
  • A temporary sales tax exemption would be put in place for six monthly billing periods for utilities and telecommunications services. This would include the 7% sales tax on electricity, water, gas, internet and phone bills.
  • Lawmakers would make a $400 million pay-down of the pre-1996 Teacher’s Retirement Fund, which currently has an unfunded liability of $9.8 billion.
  • The state would spent $215 million to help fund capital projects that were included in the 2021 budget, but that have not moved forward due to skyrocketing construction costs.

Read the measures

Statements

“Senate Republicans are today proposing a package that can provide financial relief to all Hoosiers in multiple ways while continuing to pay down our outstanding debt. In addition, we have an opportunity to protect the lives of unborn children following the historic Supreme Court decision last month. As such, we are introducing legislation that will limit abortions in Indiana while still providing necessary exceptions and boosting support for mothers and babies.”

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, a Republican from Martinsville

“We are not here to criminalize women, we are here to support mothers and help them bring happy and healthy babies to term. We in the pro-life movement have long believed in exceptions to abortion restrictions for the life of the mother, and that is reflected in our legislation. In addition, we recognize there are heartbreaking cases where, because of violence committed against women and young girls, providing some additional exceptions is necessary. That’s why the legislation we are introducing provides exceptions for cases of rape and incest, which I believe a majority of Hoosiers support.”

Indiana state Sen. Sue Glick, a Republican from LaGrange

“We have had ongoing discussions about what the best way is to provide relief to Hoosiers in this environment of high inflation,” Holdman said. “By suspending the 7% sales tax on residential utilities, we can provide relief to nearly every Hoosier, with an estimated statewide savings of $260 million. This concept would benefit more people than the proposed taxpayer refund, and all of the savings would go to Indiana households.”

Indiana state Sen. Travis Holdman, a Republican from Markle

“It is unconscionable that Indiana Republicans are gambling with the lives of Hoosier women to gain points in an ultimately unwinnable culture war. The choice to have an abortion is a personal decision that ought to be left up to a woman and her health care provider, not Republicans who are playing doctor in the Indiana Statehouse.”  

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta, a Democrat from Fort Wayne

“Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Republican Party have proven throughout this entire process (so far) that their extremist agenda to ban abortion access comes before the economic future of Hoosier families. They have delayed sending families relief checks on three occasions to help them combat global inflation and have failed to produce any legitimate plans to solve the state’s F-rated quality of life rating earned under the Indiana GOP’s 18-year control.

“Hoosiers will now bear witness to a special session where the Indiana GOP will use taxpayer dollars to force women and children to give birth and take away their American right to make their own health care decisions. A politician has no business being in an exam room with a person and their doctor, and this proposal is no doubt a violation of privacy. Indiana Republicans’ own polling reveals Hoosiers do not want them to pass extremist proposals, and if they shove this regressive legislation through the statehouse, Republicans will once again ignore the will of voters and endanger women and girls’ lives in the process.” 

Mike Schmuhl, chairman of Indiana Democratic Party

“While I’m glad the supermajority found enough humanity to grant exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, the bill is irredeemable. It is still an egregious infringement on women’s wellbeing, liberty and livelihood. It will still cause confusion and paranoia in healthcare workers, who know people like AG Rokita will bully and vilify them even if they operate within the confines of the law. It will still kill women.

Roe was set as precedent because even decades ago, Americans recognized that this decision belonged to a woman and her doctor—simple as that. Anything less is an insult to the intelligence and personhood of every woman as well as the professionalism of Indiana’s healthcare workers. It’s my opinion that our 76% male legislature needs to stop pretending they understand the choices women have to make and focus on doing their real job: supporting the women and families in our state. It’s frankly ludicrous that this bill isn’t going to Health and Provider Services, the most relevant committee with the most women—it makes you wonder if they want to hear women’s voices on this at all. That, and the fact that they’ve just now introduced a wraparound services bill for mothers and children—despite years of abysmal policy performance and family outcomes—says all you need to know about what this bill and this movement is actually about. It’s not about saving lives: every word of it is about control.”

Indiana state Sen. Shelli Yoder, a Democrat from Bloomington

“Hoosiers need help now and Indiana is in a position to give them back their money. In the first week of session, House Republicans will prioritize legislation authorizing another round of automatic taxpayer refunds. If passed, individual filers would receive $225 and joint filers would get $450. Our state’s fiscal year closeout shows an incredibly strong economy and it underscores why providing this refund is not only fiscally prudent, it’s the right thing to do by Hoosiers.

“In anticipation of a bill protecting life passing during the special session, House Republicans will also pursue making significant investments to support moms, babies and families. Our proposal includes more than $20 million in tax exemptions and appropriates more than $58 million to boost proven programs, including helping more mothers in crisis, increasing availability and affordability of child care, supporting community-based programs focused on healthy babies and families, and encouraging more people to consider adoption.

“We share the Senate’s goal in increasing protections for Indiana’s unborn while also stepping up our investment in wraparound services to better support new and expectant moms, and babies. Our caucus will take time to review and consider the details of the Senate bill, and continue to listen to thoughts and input from constituents across the state. We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues and the governor in the days and weeks ahead, and I’m confident we’ll find a thoughtful way forward that shows compassion for both mothers and babies.”

House Speaker Todd Huston, a Republican from Fishers

“Record-high inflation is putting the squeeze on everyone and leading to higher costs, whether it’s the grocery bills, utility bills or everything in between. This automatic taxpayer refund would go a long way in providing quick relief by providing individual filers with $225 and joint filers with $450. Thanks to more than a decade of fiscal responsibility, Indiana is in a strong position to do what’s right and put money back in the pockets of hardworking Hoosiers.

“As we await a bill from the Senate to take action on further protecting life, my proposal also offers more than $20 million in tax relief and appropriates more than $58 million toward proven programs that support moms and babies. It’s critical Indiana steps up to support struggling families and expectant moms in crisis, and encourages more Hoosiers to consider adoption. Through education, prevention and access to quality care, we can decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies, and create an environment where struggling moms can care for their baby both during and after pregnancy. I look forward to working on this issue with my fellow legislators during the special session beginning July 25.”

Indiana state Rep. Sharon Negele, a Republican from Attica

“An abortion ban will result in women dying. Period. When pregnant women cannot access vital components of health care, they are at greater risk of having their pregnancy end in a fatality—especially if they already have existing health conditions or illnesses.

“It’s a shame that our Legislature is moving to take such a drastic step to restrict women’s health care access, especially when we know it’s against the advice of health care providers, the cries of women and the demands of Hoosiers. 

“It’s also a shame that this bill is being sent to the Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee rather than Health and Provider Services where it belongs. This is a health issue—legislators who review health legislation and have more insight and understanding of health issues should be the first ones to deliberate this proposal. I also think it would have made more sense for this bill to go to the Health Committee where six of the members are women. There are no relevant committees that this bill could have gone to with fewer women than the Rules Committee.

“Everything from the language of the proposed bill to the legislative process surrounding it is cause for concern, and my caucus will be fighting with everything we’ve got for women and Hoosiers across the state. We also urge everyone to pay close attention to the actions of the so-called “pro-life” supermajority throughout this special session–this is when the supermajority will have to make it very clear whether they actually support life or just forced birth.”

Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor, a Democrat from Indianapolis

“The supermajority has accomplished the bare minimum by including exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother in their proposed legislation. However, this extreme legislation takes away a woman’s right to choose and fails to account for the complicated and personal medical decisions that happen during pregnancy. It is also absurd that this legislation will not be going to the Health Committee, which is clearly the most relevant committee for this legislation.

“Roe v. Wade was a settled law for nearly 50 years, a woman has the right to bodily autonomy and should have the freedom to make these decisions with her doctor, family and faith if she chooses. Today’s proposal will have a devastating impact on women, especially low-income and minority women who don’t have immediate access to healthcare. The Republican Supermajority should leave our current law in place and instead focus all of our attention on policies that will improve our maternal and infant mortality rates and support healthy moms and babies.” 

Indiana state Sen. Jean Breaux, a Democrat from Indianapolis

“The Senate GOP’s decision to ban all abortions has opened the door to a future in Indiana where women are ultimately stripped of their bodily autonomy and personal dignity. No one should ever tell a woman what to do with her body, ever. The social, cultural, medical and economic toll of a total ban on abortion will be devastating to our state. I am committed to fighting for Hoosier women in this special session and defending our freedom of choice.” 

Indiana state Rep. Chris Campbell, a Democrat from West Lafayette

“The legislation the supermajority offered today is extreme and way out of step with Hoosiers. The legislation offers the bare minimum exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. Unfortunately, it strictly regulates a woman’s right to choose and doesn’t include expectations for the health of the mother. I will strongly oppose this legislation. The right to privacy is one of the most important in a free society and I trust women to make this deeply personal decision, not the Government.”

Indiana state Sen. J.D. Ford, a Democrat from Indianapolis

“When the General Assembly convenes next week, the more formal and public process begins. Governor Eric Holcomb will continue with his discussions with legislative leadership and members about the multiple issues before Hoosiers today, including the best way to return hard-earned tax dollars to Hoosiers in a timely, meaningful way.”

Press secretary of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb

“Governor Eric Holcomb called the Indiana General Assembly into session on July 6. Instead of reporting to work as regular workers are expected to do, Indiana’s Republican supermajority has spent the last two weeks playing hooky to convene secretly in Indianapolis hotels, abusing the caucus loophole in public records laws to prepare Senate Bill 1. SB 1 is an outrageous ban on abortion and represents an unpopular escalation in the far-right assault on women. My opponent, Rep. Mike Speedy, has long touted his anti-abortion–anti-woman–position. South Indianapolis deserves a representative who believes in the right of women, trans men and non-binary people to seek and receive healthcare from doctors and healthcare providers without undue restrictions from a gerrymandered supermajority.”

Noah Leininger of Indianapolis, a Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate for state representative in House District 90

“I am disappointed that the Republican Party Indiana General Assembly is going to axe Governor Eric Holcomb Tax Relief Proposal. The money being Returned is the Money of Indiana Citizens. This is a generous proposal by Governor Eric Holcomb. A Utility Tax Relief is wrong. This can be considered after the Tax Return Proposal is passed. The Utility Tax Reduction is nothing. The Republicans Party was created for the People, Business, and Government. All Elected Republicans that want to axe Governor Eric Holcomb Tax Return Proposal, your actions demonstrate selfish, closed-minded individuals and it’s disgusting.

“I am proud to be a Republican Candidate for Indiana House of Representatives District 92. Disappointed in the actions of a few.”

John L. Couch of Indianapolis, a Republican candidate for state representative in House District 92

“SB 1 is a weak and troubling bill. IRTL brought the voice of prolife Hoosiers to the Senate shortly after the Dobbs ruling, and this bill falls woefully short of what was outlined in that discussion. The bill fails substantively in many areas, but chiefly in its failure to provide any meaningful enforcement provisions. This bill goes through the motions on paper, but lacks any teeth to actually reduce abortions in Indiana by holding those who perform abortions or would intentionally skirt the law accountable with criminal consequences. As the bill reads now, the 8,000-plus abortions that take place annually in Indiana would continue unabated in counties like Marion County where the prosecutor has already stated he will not enforce the law. That is unacceptable and prolife Hoosiers will not silently let that stand.”

Mike Fichter, president and chief executive officer, Indiana Right to Life

Senate calendar

Here is a tentative schedule of the special session from the Senate Majority Communications Office:

Monday

11 a.m.: The Senate will convene Monday to introduce bills for a first reading.

1 p.m.: The Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure will meet in the Senate chamber to hear Senate Bill 1, which addresses abortion law. If all those present who signed up have testified before 5 p.m., the committee will adjourn without voting.

Tuesday

9 a.m.-noon: The Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure will meet in the Senate Chamber to continue hearing testimony on Senate Bill 1. The committee is expected to vote on the bill at the end of the meeting. If all those present who signed up have testified before noon, the committee will move to discussion and consideration of the bill at that time.

July 27

1:30 p.m.: The Senate will convene for session to adopt committee reports. This is procedural; debate on bills does not typically occur at this stage.

July 28

1:30 p.m.: The Senate will convene for session for Senate bills on second reading. At this stage, senators may offer, debate and vote on amendments to bills. Filed amendments will be available for review at iga.in.gov.

July 29

10:30 a.m.: The Senate will convene for Senate bills on third reading. Debate on those bills will occur at this stage, and a final vote is expected to be taken on them.

House calendar

Here is a tentative schedule of the special session of the Indiana House from House Speaker Todd Huston, a Republican from Fishers:

Monday

10 a.m.: House session.

Tuesday

10 a.m.: House session.

11 a.m.: Ways & Means – House Bill 1001(ss) – (Testimony, Amend and Vote). Committee will be held in the House Chamber. Session will reconvene upon adjournment of Ways & Means (Committee Report Adoption).

July 28

Time to be determined: House Session – House Bill 1001(ss), second reading).

July 29

Time to be determined: House Session – House Bill 1001(ss), third reading.

Week of Aug. 1

House to consider Senate-passed legislation.