The Journal Gazette
Thursday, January 20, 2022 1:00 am

General Assembly

Abortion bills not likely to be heard

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The chances of Indiana lawmakers significantly limiting abortion this session are slim.

Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, said Wednesday she won't hear a bill that would trigger a special session of the General Assembly depending on upcoming rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States on two key abortion cases.

Senate Bill 309 was assigned to her committee.

Brown said she is “very comfortable” waiting for the rulings this year and then immediately asking Gov. Eric Holcomb to call a special session in case any action needs to be taken.

She said there are too many ways the rulings could go to try to pass a bill beforehand. 

Brown might hear a bill on parental consent that aims to close one loophole, but it is not a major overhaul or change.

In the House, two abortion bills have been filed. One would add warning language about coerced abortions.

A second would completely ban all abortions, but that bill hasn't received a hearing any year it has been filed.

Panel advances school board bill

A House panel voted unanimously Wednesday to require local school boards to allow public comment during meetings.

A few isolated districts recently refused to allow public comment after particularly raucous meetings.

“This is a transparency bill,” said Rep. Tim O'Brien, R-Evansville. “Public input is vital, and Hoosiers deserve to have their voices heard.”

House Bill 1130 was amended to apply only to school boards instead of all local government units. The bill says school boards can limit comment – but not to less than three minutes per person.

And the bill says “nothing in this section prohibits a governing body from taking reasonable steps to maintain order in a meeting, including removal of any person who is willfully disruptive of the meeting.”

O'Brien noted that public comment at legislative hearings is important and leads to good public policy.

The Indiana General Assembly is not required by law to allow comment, though it does voluntarily with some limitations.

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