A bill requiring Indiana hospitals to give women the option to place a long-acting reversible contraception shortly after childbirth during their hospital stay narrowly passed the Senate on Monday.
Senate Bill 266, a bipartisan measure authored by Sens. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, and Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, advanced 26-23 from the chamber and now heads to the House. Breaux has been absent and didn’t vote on the bill.
Members of the minority caucus supported the measure alongside 17 GOP lawmakers from across the aisle.
Advocates say offering to insert the device at the same time not only reduces the burdens on mothers, who only need to make one trip, but also helps with family planning.
And by scheduling the procedure shortly after birth, when the uterus is still larger than normal, it minimizes patient pain or discomfort.
A separate measure that advanced from the House last week would allow pharmacists to prescribe hormonal birth control to people 18 and older without an appointment. That includes contraceptive patches, as well as birth control pills and rings.
A move toward income tax elimination
The Senate on Monday also unanimously advanced Senate Bill 3, which seeks to form the State and Local Tax Review Commission to study the feasibility of ending Indiana’s income tax and reforming property taxes for Hoosiers.
Bill author Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, previously emphasized that the House and Senate chambers already passed a plan to cut Indiana’s individual income tax rate from 3.23% to 2.9% by 2029.
He said Indiana’s long-term goal should be “to totally eliminate the individual income tax rates.” To do that, lawmakers need to look at the entire tax system “holistically, instead of trying to make piecemeal changes,” Holdman said.
Currently, seven states don’t have a state income tax.
Indiana lawmakers typically pay about $1 billion each year to the Pre-1996 Teachers’ Retirement Fund. Once the pension plan no longer has an unfunded liability, however, the state will have that money to work with in the state’s budget.
The estimated payoff date for the pension fund was beyond 2060 back in 2011. State lawmakers are now aiming to fund the pension plan by 2029.
‘Complicated’ TIF bill dies in House
Meanwhile, Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, opted not to call his bill down for a third reading in the House on Monday, killing the legislation.
House Bill 1085 would have added some accountability measures for tax incremental financing (TIF) projects and clarified some language about participating school corporations.
However, despite multiple hearings, lawmakers couldn’t seem to agree on the basics of the economic development tool — and whether other measures might do more to incentivize community improvements.
“TIFs are complicated things,” House Speaker Todd Huston told reporters Monday. “You kind of try and navigate the waters of getting to a solution [but] it feels like every time you touch one thing, you impact another.”
Cherry’s bill was one of two that House authors didn’t call, therefore missing the third reading deadline.
However, some bill language may reappear in other proposals that are still advancing. Huston said the TIF measure could find a “spot to land” in a Senate bill, or just wait until next year.