Women4Change Legislative Wrap-Up: 2019 Indiana General Assembly Session

The Indiana General Assembly adjourned sine die at 11:10 PM on Wednesday, April 24th after addressing numerous high-profile issues in the last 48 hours of the 2019 legislative session.  Lawmakers were able to strike compromises on issues including the state budget, gaming, education, Department of Child Services reform, and school safety.

Overall, 710 bills were introduced in the House of Representatives, with 163 making their way to Governor Eric Holcomb for his consideration and potential signature into law. In the Senate, 134 of 639 bills survived the legislative process.

During this session, Women4Change fought for legislation that would benefit all Hoosiers. Our priorities for this session are below and we have included whether a bill has been signed into law, sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law or vetoed, or dead. We are going to grow from this year and return in 2020 with fire in our belly to let our lawmakers know that Hoosier women want positive change for Indiana.

Nonconsensual Pornography

Nonconsensual pornography, more commonly referred to as “revenge porn,” violates victims’ privacy and leads to a loss of reputation that can result in job loss. Prior to 2019, Indiana was one of only 9 states without a revenge porn law. Women4Change was the only organization that advocated for this issue and we are pleased at the outcome of both Senate bills.

SB 192 Nonconsensual Pornography (Bohacek): Signed by the Governor, Public Law 29

SB 243 Nonconsensual Pornography (Freeman): Sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed or vetoed

Bias Crimes Legislation

A comprehensive bias crimes bill was supposed to be one of Governor Holcomb’s priorities for the 2019 general assembly. After several drafts and amendments that started with SB 12, Indiana’s hate crimes bill became SB 198 with an abbreviated list of protections. This list did not include age, sex, gender or gender identity and our organization released a statement of disapproval. Governor Holcomb signed SB 198 into law on April 6th, 2019.     

SB 198 Sentencing (Bohacek): Signed by the Governor, Public Law 5

Equal Pay

Indiana’s gender pay gap is one of the largest in the nation according to the American Association of University Women’s 2018 gender pay gap study. Democrats in the House and Senate proposed multiple bills to address the gender pay gap, but none of these bills were passed into law.

Teacher Pay

Indiana’s average teacher pay of $50,218 is lower than each of our surrounding states. House and Senate Republicans have increased the funding for education in the biennial budget and plan to pay off some pension obligations with the intent that local school boards will use the savings to raise pay, but critics of the bill argue that this is not enough.

HB 1640 Education Matters (Behning): Dead Bill

HB 1008 Teacher Career Ladders (Behning): Signed by the Governor

  • Changes the requirements for a school corporation to receive a grant from the teacher and student advancement grant program (program) and allows charter schools to receive these grants.

Redistricting Reform

Redistricting in Indiana will occur in 2021 after the next census has taken place. Several bills were authored by both Republicans and Democrats during the 2019 legislative session to address redistricting reform and gerrymandering. Despite SB105 gaining some early traction, all of the six proposed bills died.

SB 105 Redistricting Standards (Walker): Dead Bill

  • SB 105 had the most momentum, but died in committee in the House.

Opioid Epidemic

1,800 Hoosiers died last year from a drug overdose and 63% of those deaths were a result of opioid use.We partnered with Overdose Lifeline to show our support and lobby for laws that will positively impact those affected by substance use disorder.  

HB 1543 Inpatient Addiction Treatment (Kirchhofer): Sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed or vetoed – must be signed by May 6th

SB 141 Office Based Opioid Treatment Providers (Houchin): Sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed or vetoed

SB 276 Opioid Treatment Pilot Program (Raatz): Sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed or vetoed

Gun Safety

An average of 52 women being shot by an intimate partner every month in the US is a perfect example about how gun violence disproportionately affects women. We followed firearm bills that were written to keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence and multiple offenders, two of which passed through the House and the Senate.

HB 1651 Judicial Evaluation of Dangerous Individuals and Firearms (Schaibley): Sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed or vetoed

  • Establishes a dangerous person, for example previous offenders of domestic abuse, and makes it much more difficult for dangerous individuals to own firearms.

SB 119 Machine Guns (Tomes): Sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed or vetoed

  • Makes it a felony if a person sells, gives, or in any other manner transfers ownership or possession of a machine gun to any person under 18 years of age.

Women’s Health

We support women’s rights to access needed healthcare without great hindrance by legislation. The bills that supported our ideology died early in session, so we promoted the harm of the bills that progressed. Indiana is moving slightly forward by giving minor mothers autonomy over their medical decisions and helping mothers impacted by the opioid crisis.

HB 1211 Abortion Matters (Mayfield): Signed by the Governor

  • Mayfield’s bill, now law, outlaws the most safe and common abortion procedure (called dilation and evacuation) for medically necessary second trimester abortions.

HB1547 Consent to Pregnancy Services of a Minor (Kirchoffer): Signed by the Governor

  • Gives minor pregnant women the autonomy to make their own medical decisions.

SB 201 Health Provider Ethical Exemption (Brown): Signed by the Governor, Public Law 72

  • Expands on the types of medical professionals (to pharmacists, nurses) who can deny abortion services due to personal beliefs.

HB 1007 Perinatal Care (Kirchhofer): Sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed or vetoed

  • Requires the state department of health to establish a perinatal navigator program that would offer treatment services to mothers affected by substance use disorder.

SB 278 Local Fetal Infant Mortality Review Teams (Leising): Signed by the Governor, Public Law 31

  • Creates a review board that will research infant mortality causes specific to Indiana and ways to improve the current statistics of infant mortality.