July 26, 2022

Live updates: Abortion ban bill heads to full Senate, inflation relief bills advance, and anti-abortion rally brings hundreds to Statehouse

Indiana Right to Life rally attendees bow their heads in prayer inside the Statehouse on July 26, 2022. - Emilie Syberg/WFYI

Indiana Right to Life rally attendees bow their heads in prayer inside the Statehouse on July 26, 2022.

Emilie Syberg/WFYI

5:21 p.m., Senate committee approves inflation relief bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its inflation relief bill by unanimous vote.

The Senate GOP plan differs from those proposed by House Republicans and Gov. Eric Holcomb. Instead of sending $225 checks to every taxpayer, Senate Bill 3 (ss) suspends the 7 percent sales tax on utility bills for six months. Republican staffers estimate that will save the average Hoosier household $120 over six months. There’s also a cap on the state sales tax on gasoline at 29.5 cents for one year.

A large chunk of money in the Senate inflation relief bill is dedicated to pay for state construction projects and paying down teacher pension fund debt. The committee amended the bill to hold off until the end of the fiscal year before moving the money to pay for the construction projects.

Republicans rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) to move $1 billion into state K-12 public school funding.

4:27 p.m., Senate Appropriations Committee sends SB 2 on to full Senate

The Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee has approved Senate Bill 2 (ss). The legislation provides $50 million for financial support for pregnant people, children and families. The vote was unanimous.

Before sending the legislation to the full Senate, the committee voted along party lines to reject three amendments from Democrats that would have provided $250 million for mental health services, $250 million to Indiana's poor maternal and infant mortality rates and $250 million to improve the state's public health system.

Earlier today the House Ways and Means Committee passed House Bill 1001 with similar provisions, including tax exemptions for dependent or adopted children and expansion of  Medicaid coverage to include labor and delivery services for people likely to qualify. The bill moving on to the full House also includes inflation relief in the form of a $225 check for eligible Hoosiers.

2:15 p.m., Senate Appropriations Committee begins hearing on bills for Hoosier Families First Fund and inflation relief

The Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Senate Bill 2 (ss) and Senate Bill 3 (ss) is underway.

SB2 creates the Hoosier Families First Fund with $45 million. The funding would be used by state agencies on organization and services for pregnant Hoosiers, including access to contraception and pregnancy planning, child care and support for foster and adoptive care. The legislation also increases Indiana's adoption tax credit from $1,000 to $10,000 per child. That costs the state an additional $5 million.

SB3 is the Senate GOP version of inflation relief. Their plan differs from the one proposed by House Republicans and Gov. Eric Holcomb. Instead of sending $225 checks to every taxpayer, SB3 would suspend the 7 percent sales tax on your utility bills for six months.

1 p.m., Senate committee advances abortion ban bill to the full Senate

The Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee voted to advance Senate Bill 1 (ss) to the full Senate. The vote was 7-5 with one Republican, Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper),  joining Democrats in voting against the legislation.

Despite voting yes, several Republicans remain critical of the bill. Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) said he grew physically sick while listening to the testimony.

“I'm a devout Catholic. But I struggle with some of the testimony I've heard,” Charbonneau said. “How can religious freedom only apply to certain religions?”

12:40 p.m., Committee discussing amended Senate Bill 1

With consideration of amendments over, members of the Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee are discussing Senate Bill 1 (ss). Senators on both sides of the aisle said they have things that they dislike about the bill in its current form.

12:30 p.m., Bray won't allow any other amendments to be considered by the committee

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville), chair of the Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee, is not allowing more amendments to be considered by the committee, including several proposed by Democrats. He did not give a reason for his decision.

Earlier the committee voted 7-5 to approve an amendment that puts a rape/incest affidavit in a person's permanent health record. Sen. Mike Crider (R-Greenfield) joined Democrats in opposing the amendment.

12 p.m., Senate committee approves amendments to abortion legislation

The Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee has approved an amendment to restrict abortions performed in cases of rape and incest to eight weeks for someone 16 years old or older, and 12 weeks for someone under age 16.

 

The amendment passed 7-5. One Republican, Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), voted against the amendment, along with every Democrat on the committee.

The committee also approved an amendment adding the same reporting requirements that apply to abortions to apply to terminations of pregnancy allowed by the bill when a fetus can't survive. Messmer joined Democrats in voting against that amendment, as well.

Outside the Senate chamber, anti-abortion protesters chanted “Let their heart beat.”

11:35 a.m., Senate committee ends public testimony, moves to amendments

Public testimony on abortion legislation has ended. Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville), chair of the Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee, brought the testimony to an end and the committee moved on to discuss amendments to the legislation.

Twenty-two people testified on the Senate's proposed abortion ban in the time allowed this morning. Thirty-nine testified yesterday. Over the two sessions, 61 people delivered 6.5 hours of testimony. No one testified in support of the bill.

11:25 a.m., ‘The same God that overturned slavery overturned Roe v. Wade’

Angela Minter, founder and president of Sisters for Life, spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of hundreds of right to life supporters in the Statehouse. She told the supporters “the same God that overturned slavery overturned Roe v. Wade” and repeated the phrase several times.

Minter also shared that as a teenager she had an abortion. She said God told her to “educate people, that women “deserve better than abortion.”

She encouraged those attending the rally to text their state senators to tell them that they disagree with SB 1. The crowd was also been given cards to write to their state senators and representatives.

 

10:55 a.m., Supporters of Indiana Right to Life gather at the Statehouse

Supporters of one of Indiana’s most influential anti-abortion groups have gathered at the Statehouse north atrium for the "Love Them Both" rally.

Indiana Right To Life organized the rally to urge lawmakers to restrict abortion and increase support for women who are pregnant. 

Hundreds of people are at the rally, including Alyssa Rosselli, from LaPorte. She said she came to show her support for ending abortion in Indiana.

“We finally have a chance to protect unborn children in Indiana. And their mothers too. People say abortion hurts women’s rights, but it hurts women too," Rosselli said.  "And we’re just here to ask our legislators to help us help them.”

Republican state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban abortion with limited exceptions in the case of rape, incest and when the life of the pregnant person is at risk.

Speakers at the rally include Mike Fichter, IRTL president & CEO, Kim Smith, of Elevation Church, state Sen. Liz Brown (R-Fort Wayne), and  Angela Minter, founder and president of Sisters for Life.

 

9 a.m., Senate Rules Committee testimony continues

Indiana lawmakers will continue to hear testimony related to proposed abortion legislation this morning at the Statehouse.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reported, on the first day of the special session, more than three dozen Hoosiers spoke – none in support of the bill, which would ban abortion with limited exceptions in cases of rape and incest and when the life of the pregnant person is at risk.

Public comment begins again at 9 a.m. and will continue for at least three hours before the committee will consider amendments and vote on the bill.

At 2 p.m., the Senate Appropriations Committee will take testimony, consider amendments and vote on bills SB 2 (ss) and SB 3 (ss).

Follow @brandonjsmith5 on Twitter for live updates from the committee hearings.


Watch the live feed

At 11 a.m., the House Ways and Means Committee will consider amendments and vote on the House's only special session bill. The bill addresses both inflation relief and family and health issues, including:

  • Allowing those who didn't file taxes last year to submit an affidavit with the Indiana Department of Revenue to receive $225. 
  • Increasing the exemption amount for every child claimed as a dependent, adding an additional tax exemption for every adopted child, and increasing, to $3,000, the state's adoption tax credit.
  • Eliminating the sales tax on diapers.
  • Boosting child care vouchers, nurse-family partnerships and the state's Safety PIN grant fund, which aims to reduce infant mortality.
  • Expanding services covered under Indiana Medicaid and Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 coverage, including donated breast milk, prenatal screenings and the costs of labor and delivery.  

Follow Ben Thorp and Violet Comber-Wilen for updates from the House.

Indiana Right to Life, one of the state’s most influential anti-abortion organizations, will hold a rally at the Statehouse. Follow Darian Benson and Emile Syberg for updates.

If you missed yesterday’s coverage, catch up with the live blog. 

Support independent journalism today. You rely on WFYI to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Donate to power our nonprofit reporting today. Give now.

 

Related News

Legislative leaders say 2024 session more substantive than planned, but much more to come in 2025
Economic Enhancement District for Mile Square will not be repealed
Bill effectively killing Indianapolis Blue Line gets hearing in House committee