Indiana News

Strong words from Indiana senators in push for pregnant workers’ protections

Pregancy accommodations bill debated in Indiana legislature

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A bill as first written by Republican state Sen. Ron Alting from Lafayette would’ve required more Indiana businesses to allow pregnant women to take longer breaks, do less physical work and take unpaid time off after childbirth.

“These, I think should be reasonable for any man or woman to consider,” Katie Kirkhoff, president and co-founder of the Little Timmy Project, previously told News 8.

The bill looks quite different now.

“The Republican majority basically killed the bill on the floor yesterday by sending that proposal to a summer study committee,” State Sen. Tim Lanane, a Democrat from Anderson, explained Tuesday.

On Monday, the Republican majority voted to delete the requirements from the bill.

“I was thinking where are your voices? Why aren’t you fighting for this bill that your governor wants? And the people of the state of Indiana. Instead, we heard these people arguing against the bill that it was too complicated, too many unknowns,” Lanane said.

On Tuesday, Republican state Sen. Andy Zay told News 8 why he changed the bill.

“It certainly is an important conversation for families, for business, and for our state,” the Republican from Huntington explained to News 8 on Tuesday. “I just think it needs a little more time.”

Zay says big businesses already abide by the accommodations under federal laws. He argues the bill could drastically affect small-business owners.

“So, you’re getting into the intimacy of small business,” Zay explained. “Do they have the space to accommodate a new mother? What kind of time and reasonable accommodations can they make? I think businesses in our environment now of low unemployment are committed to really fulfilling a lot of these things already.”

Republican state Sen. Michael Crider voted “no” on the amendment.

“It’s good to keep the bill actually alive but I was kind of conflicted in the change because I think most businesses are already doing what we’re talking about,” the Republican from Greenville explained to News 8 on Tuesday. “I’m hopeful that we can continue to have this conversation.”

Republicans insist the bill is still alive, despite the major changes. Senate Democrats hope for a push from Gov. Eric Holcomb, who endorsed the plan during his State of the State address.

“If he’s going to save his bill, he needs to come out now and say strongly, ‘Look. We need to enact it this year,'” Lanane explained Tuesday.

The bill passed out of the House on Tuesday, which means it now heads to the House for consideration.