Compiled by Randy Hudgins

Each week we will take a look at what’s happening in the Indiana legislature with insights from social studies educator Randy Hudgins. This is the midway point of the 2023 Legislative Session. All bills proposed in each chamber that have not passed either chamber are considered dead. Certain language from these bills may work their way into other bills.

Bills Passing or Going Through Committee

Senate Bill 12—“Material Harmful to Minors” (author: Jim Tomes-R). SB 12 passed the Senate on Tuesday after nearly 2 hours of debate over the bill. Senator JD Ford asked the bill’s author where harmful materials were being found in Indiana. The bill’s author responded that Purple for Parents alleged there were harmful materials—by their arbitrary standards—in 90 county libraries around the state. To our knowledge there was no list of the books or the 90 libraries identified. Sen. Tomes allegedly brought up two books that were identified as harmful. The only book identified by members of the media as allegedly objectionable is the book Gender Queer. When Sen. Ford asked who should be arrested for distributing material seen by Tomes and Purple for Parents as harmful to minors, Tomes flippantly responded that anyone—librarian, library staff, or school principal—should be. Senator Scott Baldwin of Noblesville chimed in that the bill was “…trying to close a loophole that exists where material provided to a child on the street is criminal but not if provided in a library.” The current bill indicates that it will be up to a local prosecutor whether to charge a librarian or K-12 educator of giving out material “harmful to minors,” which brings with it the possibility of a level-6 felony. In general, the types of books that these groups object to involve LGBTQ+ topics or authors, as well as books addressing race in America authored by people of color. This author must ask what if the book in question is available in a bookstore? Will the state next determine what books cannot be accessed in a bookstore, or be bought digitally? Only a couple of Republican senators voted against the bill. All Hamilton County Republican senators voted Yes on the bill. (Read coverage from the Indiana Capital Chronicle and WFYI.)

Senate Bill 480—Gender Transition Procedures for Minors (author: Tyler Johnson-R). The headline in the Indiana Capital Chronicle says it all: “Parents Lose Right to Direct Gender-affirming Care for Transgender Minors under Senate Bill.” It is important to note that a similar bill became law in Mississippi on Tuesday. Bills from Arkansas and Alabama with nearly identical language are currently enjoined in the courts. Representatives of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association testified in opposition to the bill, noting that the treatments are safe under their standard of care guidelines. Only three Republicans voted against the bill, one of whom was Kyle Walker. The bill moves to the House.

House Bill 1428—School Board Elections (author: JD Prescott-R). This bill was not called to the floor this week and is NOW DEAD. The bill would have paved the way for all school board elections throughout the state to include candidates that declare their party affiliation. It did give citizens of school districts multiple options for whether or not they included partisan affiliation on the ballot. This bill will probably come up again in the 2024 session. (Read coverage from the Indiana Capital Chronicle and WFYI.)

Senate Bill 266—Long-acting Reversible Contraceptives (author: Jean Breaux-D, Sue Glick-R). This bill, which requires a hospital to give a woman the option of placing a long-acting reversible contraceptive device immediately after birth, barely passed the Senate by a 26–23 Vote. Kyle Walker and Scott Baldwin voted for the measure. (Read coverage from the Indiana Capital Chronicle.)

Senate Bill 3—State and Local Tax Review Task Force (author: Travis Holdman-R). The big headline of this bill is that a commission has been set up to research the feasibility of eliminating state income tax in Indiana during the next decade or sooner. (Read coverage from the Indiana Capital Chronicle.)

Bills from Rep. Victoria Garcia-Wilburn(D) Moving to the Senate

HB 1321—Public Safety Training. Establishes minimum standards for training of law enforcement personnel in area of mental health and wellness.

HB 1365—Machine Guns (co-author Mitch Gore-D). Revises definition of “machine gun” for enhancement of certain criminal offenses.

See the list of other bills authored or co-authored by Rep. Garcia-Wilburn.

Bills from Sen. J.D. Ford(D) Moving to the House

Sen. Ford advocated for and passed through many bills. Here is a list of all bills he participated in. Bills with a blue number link are moving to the House.

Lori Hand


Precinct Chair, Noblesville 29; HamCo Dems Communications Committee member.