Indiana Senate Passes Senate Bill 2 to Help Increase Funding to Support Pregnant Women

Indiana Senate Passes Modified Tax Issues Senate Bill 2 into law Friday with a vote of 46-1-3. The bill creates the Hoosier Families First Fund and allocates $45 million for efforts to help pregnant women and aims to increase access to foster care support and contraception.

SB 2 was authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, Sen. Chris Garten, R-Charlestown, among others. The bill received third and final reading after Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch approved a motion for a ten-minute suspension of Sen. Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville.

By December 1, 2022, the Medicaid office must compile Medicaid reimbursement rates in neighboring states for various “prenatal, pregnancy, postnatal, and pediatric wellness services.” Then, the office must submit a report to the general assembly by December 31, 2022. After its adoption, the tax matters included in the legislation will come into force on January 1, 2023.

Before the break and the vote of SB 2, Crouch authorized the introduction and discussion of amendments concerning Senate Bill 3which includes a sales tax holiday on utility bills and a fuel tax freeze effective until June 2023, among other inflation cost relief measures.

Out of eight amendments filed, five have been introduced. Two passed unanimously and three failed before the bill was ordered reprinted for final reading and a vote in Saturday’s session.

The first amendment passed specified the types of transactions exempt from state retail sales tax for six months during the exemption period set out in the bill. The second amendment explained the timeline for the sales tax rebate program.

The three rejected amendments were the subject of much discussion in the Senate. Sen. Fady Qaddoura, D-Indianapolis, introduced an amendment he authored that calls for advancing $1 billion for K-12 education in schools across the state.

Referring to data published by the American Enterprise Institute, he said that when people do not graduate from high school or college or do not receive vocational training, the government spends hundreds of millions to upskill and provide them. jobs.

“We invest in the back end of the system to improve people’s skills, which I support, but we don’t invest in the front end of the system, in statewide universal pre-kindergarten. , expanding child care where the Hoosiers are struggling,” Qaddoura said.

He said waiting to resolve the issue at the end of the budget process would likely mean delaying until next May. By then, the school year would be over, as the budget does not come into effect until July.

“If we are serious about addressing education in Indiana, then I urge you not to vote along party lines on this issue,” Qaddoura said. “I urge you to support the $1 billion to invest in Indiana’s future.”

Sen. Timothy Lanane, D-Anderson, proposed another failed amendment that offered an alternative tax refund to help support low- and middle-income taxpayers. At the time of passage, there would have been an income-based two-tier type reimbursement system.

Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary introduced the last failed amendment discussed for SB 3. It extended the deadline for cities to make the tax refund payment without necessarily affecting their budgets.

He said the mayor of Holbert, Indiana, a constituent in his district, is extremely concerned about the fiscal impact this will have because it would mean taking a significant chunk of funding that could potentially impact public safety.

“The goal is to give them the ability to make those payments responsibly,” Melton said.

Sen. Holdman addressed Melton and said that as chairman of tax and taxation, he would certainly work with him toward a resolution with the mayor as well. However, he said he suggested letting him play for now and re-addressing in January if necessary.

SB 2 will come into effect early next year. Tomorrow, the Indiana Senate will meet again at 11 a.m. to read and vote on the revised Senate Bill 3 following the new amendments.

Norman D. Briggs