Special session of Indiana General Assembly concludes with passage of legislation on abortion and financial relief

Last Updated on August 7, 2022 by Cass County Communication Network

On Friday, August 5, 2022, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb signed two pieces of legislation passed during a special session of the Indiana General Assembly.

Indiana is the first state to pass new legislation banning abortion after Roe v. Wade was overturned this summer.

Below are the summaries of the laws as shared by Indiana Senate Republicans in a news release issued Friday, August 5:, 2022:

Senate Bill 1
Senate Bill 1 (ss), authored by State Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange), and Senate Bill 2 (ss), authored by State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle), work together as a package to protect life and provide assistance for expectant and new mothers and their families.

SB 1 (ss) prohibits abortions except to protect the life or physical health of the mother, in cases where a pregnancy is forced on a woman through the horrific acts of rape and incest, or when an unborn child suffers from a fatal fetal anomaly.

The new law does not affect access to the morning-after pill or any other method of birth control, does not affect treatment of miscarriages, does not affect treatment of ectopic pregnancies, does not affect in-vitro fertilization procedures and does not criminalize women seeking an abortion.

SB 1 (ss) does not create any new criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions – the existing penalty subjecting a doctor to a criminal charge for performing an illegal abortion will remain in place.

“Our mission this special session was to protect the unborn and make clear that we are not here to criminalize women,” Glick said. “With the passage of Senate Bill 1 (ss) today, we took a huge step forward in a post-Roe world by ensuring more babies have the right to life. We are also providing women with the support they need before, during and after their pregnancy with the passage of the wraparound services in Senate Bill 2 (ss). Life is precious and we believe we have respected that with the bills we passed into law.”

While no one can fully predict the exact financial needs that may exist as Indiana sees an increase in babies born in Indiana, lawmakers recognize the potential need for increased services and are providing $87 million in dedicated spending, flexible spending and tax benefits to support expectant mothers and their families and to ease the financial obligations affiliated with adoption.

Of that spending, $42 million is allocated to programs like the Nurse Family Partnership, Child Care Development Fund, Safety PIN program, Safe Haven baby boxes and Real Alternatives. An additional $45 million is allocated to the newly created Hoosier Families First Fund, which allows the state the flexibility to add funds to programs that help support healthy pregnancies and families.

“We took a tremendous pro-life stance with Senate Bill 2 (ss) with both dedicated and flexible funding that will help pregnant women over the course of their pregnancy and beyond,” Holdman said. “This funding can be used for all kinds of programs that support women, children and families. Dollars in the new Hoosier Families First Fund can support anything from pregnancy services, to foster and adoptive care, to Safe Haven baby boxes and more.”

SB 2 (ss) also helps make adoption more affordable for Hoosiers by increasing the adoption tax credit to $2,500 for each eligible child and creating a $3,000 income-tax exemption for each adopted dependent. This exemption is on top of the normal $1,500 exemption for all dependents.

Senate Bill 2
In light of the state’s strong economic performance, the Indiana Senate voted to return $1 billion to Hoosiers through a second automatic taxpayer refund and lay the groundwork to pay down the state’s pension obligations. Under SB 2 (ss), Hoosiers who filed an income tax return can expect to receive an additional $200 per filer in addition to the $125 automatic taxpayer refund authorized in the 2022 regular legislative session.

Under SB 2 (ss), Indiana residents on Social Security who did not qualify for the $125 taxpayer refund triggered in 2021 (because they did not have to file a state tax return by the end of calendar year 2021) can still qualify for the new $200 refund if they file their tax year 2022 income tax return in calendar year 2023. They will receive the payment as a refundable tax credit. This means if the credit exceeds their income, they will receive the remaining credit as a refund.

SB 2 (ss) also provides that if the state ends the current fiscal year on June 30, 2023, with excess reserve funds, up to $1 billion of that surplus would go toward paying down obligations to the pre-1996 Teachers’ Retirement Fund. That fund still has an outstanding liability of $9.8 billion.

The new law also caps the sales tax on gas so it cannot exceed 29.5 cents.

“Like all Americans, Hoosiers are feeling inflationary pressures because of liberal policies in Washington, D.C.,” Holdman said. “Thanks to more than a decade of fiscally conservative policies in Indiana, our state is in a position where we can help our citizens in meaningful ways and continue to aggressively pay down our long-term pension liabilities. This plan embodies the good financial stewardship Hoosiers have come to expect from the Statehouse.”

More information on these bills can be found here.

Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued the following statement Friday night after signing the bills:

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric J. Holcomb offered the following statement after signing Senate Enrolled Act 1(ss) and Senate Enrolled Act 2(ss), passed during the 2022 special session:

“Today, I proudly signed Senate Enrolled Act 2 to return $1 billion back to Hoosier taxpayers. This fulfills what I set out to accomplish when calling the General Assembly into special session in order help Hoosiers hurting from historically high inflation. I am also especially grateful for the nearly $100 million in long overdue increased funding to support the health of our Hoosier mothers and babies. While there is still more to do, better access and awareness of all our programs will be critical to improving our infant and maternal mortality rates – a long-standing priority of my administration.

“The exemplary teamwork and seriousness of purpose put into each element of SEA 2 is a testament to the elected leaders who helped shape it. I would like to thank Senator Travis Holdman, Chairman Doc Brown, and Representative Sharon Negele and the many other members from both sides of the aisle who contributed to the strength of the final product.

“The effort to provide the programmatic supports and the billion dollars of inflation relief contained in SEA 2 is all the more remarkable as it was crafted amidst the thorough and thoughtful debate on Senate Enrolled Act 1, which I also signed today.

“Following the overturning of Roe, I stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life. In my view, SEA 1 accomplishes this goal following its passage in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly with a solid majority of support. These actions followed long days of hearings filled with sobering and personal testimony from citizens and elected representatives on this emotional and complex topic. Ultimately, those voices shaped and informed the final contents of the legislation and its carefully negotiated exceptions to address some of the unthinkable circumstances a woman or unborn child might face.

“Thank you Senator Sue Glick and Representative Wendy McNamara for your brave authorship of SEA 1. Each of you demonstrated a steady hand and uncanny poise while carrying this once-in-a-generation legislation.

“Overall, I would be remiss if I did not share a special thanks to my friends House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray for their partnership, strength and resolve during the lead up and all the way through this special session. You each displayed the best Indiana has to offer in steering your respective chambers through unprecedented waters and delivering on your promises to conduct a respectful and thorough process.

“Lastly, to the people of Indiana, let me assure you that the democratic process marches on, and you should continue to reach out to all your elected representatives to have your voice heard. Looking back, I am personally most proud of each Hoosier who came forward to courageously share their views in a debate that is unlikely to cease any time soon. For my part as your governor, I will continue to keep an open ear.”