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Holcomb signs bills on student pronouns, school libraries

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Teachers will be required to notify parents if a student wishes to change their pronouns under a bill Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Thursday.

A teacher will have to notify at least one parent in writing within five business days if a student asks to be referred to by a different name, pronoun or word. The measure drew intense protests from LGBTQ+ rights activists, who told lawmakers such a requirement would put transgender students at risk of being outed to potentially hostile parents.

The measure was one of a final batch of 91 bills the governor signed on Thursday. Also earning the governor’s signature was a bill containing a watered-down version of the state Senate’s bill targeting materials in school libraries considered obscene. The final version bans obscene materials or materials harmful to minors, as defined in state law, in school libraries and requires schools to set up a process for parents to request a book be removed. Other bills signed include the state budget, a measure to tie additional public health funding to public health departments’ agreeing to provide a uniform set of services and legislation to set up a residential housing infrastructure fund.

There are now no remaining bills from the 2023 legislative session awaiting action by the governor. Holcomb did not issue any vetoes.

Lawmakers plan to return to the Statehouse on June 13 for their annual technical corrections session.