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Statehouse Update: 10 Bills to Root For

It's Not All Bad News Coming Out of This Year's General Assembly

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It's not all bad news coming out of the Statehouse so far this session..

While legalizing cannabis seems a long shot and encroachment of a woman's right to govern her own body is a sure thing, there are a few bills that have us hopeful that at least a few good ideas might find their way to Gov. Holcomb's desk for signature. In most cases, they'll be stonewalled and shutdown before they get that far, but we're feeling optimistic anyway. You can view and track all the legislation introduced here.

We like underdogs, so here are 10 bills we're rooting for this legislative session, despite the long odds of a few of them:

1. Conversion Therapy Ban

  • House Bill 1231 (Authored by Rep. Chris Chyung)
  • Prohibits a mental health provider from engaging in conversion therapy with a patient less than 18 years of age, and subjects a mental health provider who violates the prohibition to disciplinary action.

2. Lawmaker Lobbying Limits

  • House Bill 1231 (Authored by Rep. Chris Chyung)
  • Members of the general assembly. Provides that an individual who is a member of the general assembly after November 6, 2018, may not be registered as a lobbyist during the period that begins on the day the individual ceases to be a member of the general assembly and ends 1,825 days after the date the individual ceases to be a member of the general assembly.

3. Single Use Plastic Ban

  • House Bill 1568 (Authored by Rep. B Patrick Bauer)
  • Defines "single use restaurant service article" as a plate, eating utensil, or straw made of plastic, or a glass or cup made of or lined with plastic. Provides that, after June 30, 2020, a person who: (1) owns or operates a restaurant; and (2) knowingly or intentionally provides to a person purchasing food or drink from the restaurant one or more single use restaurant service articles; commits a Class C infraction.

4. Living Wage

  • House Bill 1145 (Authored by Rep. Edward DeLaney)
  • Replaces all references to the state minimum wage with "living wage." After June 30, 2019, increases the living wage paid to certain employees from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour.

5. Equal Pay

  • Senate Bill 395 (Authored by Sen. Mark Stoops)
  • Provides that it is an unlawful to: (1) pay wages that discriminate on the basis of sex for substantially similar work; (2) provide less favorable employment opportunities to an employee on the basis of sex; (3) take an adverse employment action against an employee or other person because the employee inquired about, disclosed, compared, or otherwise discussed the employee's wages; and (4) require an employee to sign a waiver or other document that purports to deny the employee the right to disclose the employee's wage information.

6. Interstate Expansion

  • House Bill 1364 (Authored by Rep. Justin Moed)
  • Prohibits the Indiana department of transportation (INDOT) from changing the location of the downtown corridor of I-65 and I-70 if the changes include above grade walls and additional lanes. Requires plans for changing the location of the downtown corridor to be submitted to the interim study committee on roads and transportation. Requires the committee to review the plans for compliance and provide recommendations to the governor. Requires INDOT to consider recommendations from the committee

7. Alternatives to Animal Dissection

  • House Bill 1537 (Authored by Rep. Ragen Hatcher)
  • Requires that each school corporation, charter school, and accredited nonpublic school shall develop a written student choice policy to permit students to be allowed to use non-animal alternatives instead of dissecting animals or animal specimens.

8. Ban on Ivory and Rhino Horn Sales

  • House Bill 1563 (Authored by Rep. B Patrick Bauer)
  • Makes the sale or other transfer of ownership of an article consisting of or containing ivory or rhino horn a Class A misdemeanor. Provides the following exceptions: (1) If the article is at least 100 years old and ivory or rhino horn constitutes less than 20% of the article by volume. (2) If the sale or transfer of ownership of the article is for bona fide educational or scientific purposes or is to a museum or educational institution. (3) If the transfer of ownership of the article is from a decedent or decedent's estate to an heir or devisee. (4) If the article is a musical instrument that was manufactured not later than 1975.

9. Women's Suffrage Centennial

  • House Bill 1394 (Authored by Rep. Sharon Negele)
  • Establishes the Indiana women's suffrage centennial commission. Provides that the commission shall seek to promote activities that commemorate the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

10. James Whitcomb Riley Home


Feel free to refer to me as a writer, traveler, mother, feminist, book collector, native Hoosier, Garfield Park dweller, or Tom Petty fan. All apply.