A rundown of bills that passed as short session ends

The 2022 session of the Indiana General Assembly has adjourned after more than three months, and with it, dozens of new laws will soon be on the books.

Though Republicans have super-majorities in both the Indiana House and Senate, they had several disagreements over bills addressing vaccine mandates and cuts to business taxes. In the end, the bills passed, with changes, including several items considered a priority by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

“I’m pleased our agenda items have passed and more importantly that taxpayers will feel the benefits of tax cuts, elimination and refunds,” Holcomb said in a statement. “We’ll get to work with the new tools we’ve obtained, and I’ll immediately turn my attention to the careful review of all remaining legislation soon to arrive on my desk.”

Here’s a look at some of the new laws passed that will go into effect either immediately and later this year.

Public health emergency ended

Holcomb signed a bill aimed at ending the COVID-19 public health emergency and vaccine mandates into law last week, albeit with several changes compared to the original bill.

House Bill 1001 originally would have restricted employers who require the COVID-19 vaccine by also requiring them to grant medical or religious exemptions to anyone who requests them. That part of the bill was removed in the Senate.

The final bill requires businesses to grant medical vaccine exemptions approved by doctors for workers, along with religious exemptions as required by federal law, and requires that employers accept as a vaccine exemption a worker’s medical test results showing some level of “natural immunity” through a previous infection. Employees could be required to undergo COVID-19 tests up to twice a week. It also allows the state to continue to receive additional federal funding,

It put measures in place to allow the state to continue to receive additional federal funding after the emergency ended.

The bill also will end enhanced federal food aid distributed through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The benefits were set to expire 30 days after the end of the state’s emergency declaration, meaning the extra benefits will expire April 16.

Agreement reached on business tax bill

The bill designed to cut Indiana taxes, among others, passed after several rounds of changes.

Originally, HB 1002 was designed to cut the state’s business personal property, individual income, sales and utility receipts taxes. Lawmakers said it could cut more than $1 billion a year in various taxes.

Several groups, including local governments, expressed concerns about how it will affect the economy down the line. The original bill would have given business owners a 10-year tax holiday beginning in 2024, from the 30% maximum depreciation floor for all new equipment that qualifies under the Business Personal Property Tax. These are typically large pieces of equipment purchased to facilitate manufacturing, sorting or warehousing functions at large businesses.

Local governments said the bill would cause them to lose tax revenue, forcing them to shift the burden to homeowners. Accelerate Indiana Municipalities, an organization representing cities and towns across the state, says taxing units could lose $1 billion. The cities of Franklin and Greenwood joined AIM in asking for changes to the bill, including any cuts to include full replacement of revenues.

The final bill will cut $1.1 billion in taxes by reducing the state’s current income tax rate to 2.9% from 3.23% in small steps over the next seven years. It does not include the business tax cuts that faced resistance. Holcomb was originally hesitant to support major tax cuts due to worries about inflation and a possible economic slowdown, but he changed course last week, saying the state could afford it because of strong tax revenues.

The bill would cut the tax rate to 3.15% for 2023, and would then be cut further in 2025, 2027 and 2029, until reaching a total annual reduction of $165 when fully implemented. The cuts are not automatic, with future cuts starting in 2025, only occurring if state tax revenue grows by at least 2% in the previous budget year.

The state’s utility receipt tax will also be repealed starting in July as a result of the bill.

Variety of education bills pass

Lawmakers authored and voted on several education-related bills on topics ranging from transgender athletes in scholastic sports to teacher licensure.

A bill authored by Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland, which will prohibit transgender girls from playing interscholastic girls’ sports is now before the governor for his signature. HB 1041 would not prevent students who were born female but identify as male from participating on men’s sports teams. The legislation would also establish a civil action for violations, and schools wouldn’t be subject to liabilities for complying with it.

The bill faced backlash from the American Civil Liberties Union, which promised to file a lawsuit challenging the bill. Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said his office will defend the bill’s constitutionality.

“We welcome the opportunity to defend this law if challenged in court,” Rokita said in a statement.

Two other education-related bills, HB 1130 and HB 1251, are also before the governor for his signature. HB 1130 requires school boards to give the public an opportunity for public comment at all regular meetings, and also says school boards can only hold regular meetings online if there is a declared emergency and there is a particular danger or threat that would make an in-person meeting impractical or risk the health and safety of those attending, the bill says.

HB 1251 will, among several other things, allow people who don’t necessarily have a teacher’s license or the same training as full-time teachers to work in school districts under adjunct status. Those adjunct teachers would also not take part in collective bargaining.

The bill also requires the Indiana Department of Education to prepare a report regarding establishing and implementing a parent-teacher compact program, gives the State Board of Education authority to adopt emergency rules for school accreditation, and requires the driver of a special purpose bus or vehicle to pass an expanded criminal history and child protection index check, the bill says.

HB 1041 and HB 1130 will go into effect on July 1. HB 1251 will take effect as soon as the governor signs it.

Changes coming to current laws

Several bills passed this session will change current laws, including automatic tax refunds, revising the legal definition of rape and constitutional carry.

SB 1 changes the state’s automatic refund law by expanding the number of Hoosiers who would typically be eligible for a tax refund to include those who may not have made enough money to need to file a tax return. In this case, a majority of Hoosiers would get a base return of $125 due to the state’s budget surplus this year. It will take effect as soon as the governor signs it.

Another bill heading to Holcomb, HB 1079, will better define consent under Indiana law when it comes to rape. Current law says intercourse is only considered rape if it’s done by force or if it occurs with someone who is mentally incapacitated or unaware that it’s happening. HB 1079 changes it to say that a person who has sexual intercourse with someone who attempts to physically, verbally or “by other visible conduct” refuse the person’s acts commits rape. The bill is expected to take effect on July 1.

A bill that would repeal Indiana’s requirement for a permit to carry a handgun in public was passed following its temporary sidelining by GOP senators. Language for the permit requirement repeal was added to HB 1296, and the change would allow anyone age 18 or older to carry a handgun in public except for reasons such as having a felony conviction, facing a restraining order from a court or having a dangerous mental illness. The language was originally its own bill, HB 1077, but that bill was drastically changed following a Senate committee hearing and failed to move on due to Senate procedural rules.

Supporters argue the permit requirement undermines Second Amendment protections by forcing law-abiding citizens to undergo police background checks that can take weeks. Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, along with several major law enforcement organizations, strongly objected to the bill, saying it would strip officers of a screening tool for quickly identifying dangerous people they encounter who shouldn’t have guns. The repeal goes into effect on July 1.


Here’s a snapshot at some of the bills that failed to pass during this year’s session of the Indiana General Assembly.

Senate Bill 17, House Bill 1369

SB 17, a.k.a. the harmful materials bill, would have removed public schools and libraries from the list of entines with a defense to prosecution. The bill passed the Senate in February, but did not get a vote in the House. HB 1134 originally included similar langauge, but that was stripped from the bill by the Senate.

HB 1369 did include the harmful materials language following several last minute changes in conference committee on Tuesday. The bill passed the House 65-32 but failed in the Senate in a 21-29 vote.

Senate Bill 124

SB 124 would have removed a requirement for Hoosier motorists to signal at certain distances before changing lanes by repealing a law requiring Indiana drivers to issue their intention to turn at 200 feet, or to change lanes at 300 feet in a 50 mph or higher zone. Motorists instead would have been required to signal turns and lane changes within “a reasonable time” before completing them. It also would have required Hoosiers who are subject to both an administrative and court-ordered license suspension file a petition for specialized driving privileges in the court that ordered the suspension.

Senate Bill 167, House Bill 1134

SB 167 and HB 1334 which would have prohibited public K-12 schools from teaching students that “any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or political affiliation” is inherently superior, inferior, racist, sexist, oppressive. They also would have banned teaching that any individual should feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, responsibility or any other form of psychological distress” on account of those same characteristics or that meritocracy was created by one group to oppress another.

House Bill 1040

HB 1040 would also have narrowed the way certain topics are taught in school by requiring schools to teach “socialism, Marxism, communism, totalitarianism or similar political systems are incompatible with and in conflict with the principals of freedom upon which the United States was founded.” The bill did not make it pass a House committee.

House Bill 1072

HB 1072 would have required school districts to share some of what they receive from property tax referendums with charter schools that are attended by students who live within the district’s boundaries. The bill passed the House 52-39 but failed to get a hearing date in the Senate.