It was a busy first week, with committee hearings right out of the gate. Governor Eric Holcomb and all four legislative caucuses unveiled their 2024 agendas. You can see some unity across the GOP groups re: education and workforce and greater legislative influence over administrative agencies; with individual caucus focus on childcare, healthcare costs, and retiree “13th Checks.” Statehouse Democrats held a joint press conference Thursday afternoon to share their agenda. Learn more here:
- Governor Holcomb Agenda
- Senate Republican Agenda
- Joint Statehouse Democrat Agenda
- House Republican Agenda
On Tuesday evening, Holcomb gave his 8th and final State of the State address. Much of it focused on past achievements and plans to better spread the good news of the “Indiana Model” that he noted “seeks excellence, rejecting any notion that a Midwestern ‘vowel state’ would be content with mediocrity, and instead takes giant leaps, rather than baby steps.” Holcomb unveiled the new “One Stop to Start” hub for workforce related resources and shared a surprise announcement that the Lilly Endowment would provide $250M to address blight and redevelopment across Indiana with $65M of that allocated specifically to cultivating arts and cultural initiatives – all this as a complement to the $500M READI 2.0 efforts.
Committees began to hear bills, including some of the priority bills, such as HB1001 (updating last year’s legislation on delivering more on-the-job training in HS) and HB1002 (addressing antisemitism on college campuses) heard by the House Education Committee Wednesday morning. The State and Local Tax Review Task Force also met Wednesday taking testimony from the public for the first time, though most speakers were Statehouse regulars representing associations, such as David Ober who gave a sneak peak of the Indiana Chamber’s revenue analysis.
There was also a lot more “political” activity than usual for the first week of Session after Congressmen Bucshon and Pence announced Monday and Tuesday respectively that they would not be running for re-election this year, creating a flurry of activity as legislators began contemplating and announcing campaigns to replace them. This is in addition to several legislators already running for the seats currently occupied by Representatives Banks (running for US Senate) and Spartz (previously announced her retirement). That is four of the nine Indiana members of Congress leaving with one more (Baird) rumored to be considering retirement. We already knew of a lot of changes coming to the Indiana Legislature next year, including Evansville’s Ryan Hatfield, but all of these moves will certainly create more.
On Monday, we celebrate a national holiday in memory of one of America’s most revered fallen leaders. Thursday, in the Indiana House of Representatives, a time honored statehouse tradition continued as Rep. Dr. Vernon Smith commemorated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “On April 4 in Memphis someone said, ‘Kill him and you kill the dream,’” and for 33 years you have given me the privilege and honor to bring this message to this body of great legislators,” said Rep Vernon Smith, “I can truthfully and honestly say without any reservation, the dream still lives on!”
For your reading pleasure over the holiday weekend, your updated Bill Track is attached. Your Rideout Public Affairs team has reviewed all of the bills made available to the public so far and tagged these as the ones to keep an eye on. There are other bills of interest, but we have not included many that are unlikely to get a Committee hearing or further consideration. If they do begin to get traction, we will add them to your Track. As always, please let us know if you would like us to remove any of the ones listed and/or if you hear of other bills you want us to include.
And, below are important dates that we know of at this time. Please remember that Committee meetings only require 24 hours notice, so there will be several more hearings – likely on bills you’re interested in – next week, but they are not yet posted.
- Tuesday, January 16
- Senate Homeland Security & Transportation
- SB190 State Disaster Relief Fund (Carrasco)
- Senate Tax & Fiscal Policy
- House Government & Regulatory Reform
- House Utilities
- HB1277 State Administration of Federal BEAD Program (Soliday)
- Wednesday, January 17
- House Judiciary
- HB1003 Administrative Law (Steuerwald)
- Senate Pensions and Labor
- Senate Public Policy
- SB58 Restaurant Carryout Sales (Holdman)
- Thursday, January 18
- Senate Appropriations
- Senate Family & Children Services
- SB153 Child Care Regulation Matters (Rogers)
- Tuesday, January 30: EREP Day at the Statehouse
- Monday, February 5: Deadline for House Bills to pass the House
- Tuesday, February 6: Deadline for Senate Bills to pass the Senate