INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers will be back at the Statehouse next week to debate abortion restrictions and inflation relief options.
Indiana will be the first state in the nation to hold a special session on abortion restrictions following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling.
The bill proposed by Indiana Senate Republicans would ban abortions at all times during pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest, and when it’s necessary “to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life of the mother.”
The bill is drawing backlash from both anti-abortion groups and groups supporting abortion access.
The ACLU of Indiana argues it infringes on women’s rights.
“A ban on abortion limits a woman’s reproductive freedom in a way that is truly scary,” said Katie Blair, advocacy and public policy director.
Indiana Right to Life has called the bill “weak” and has concerns over enforcement.
“This legislation is not intended to end abortion in the state of Indiana,” said Mike Fichter, president and CEO. “It’s intended to facilitate abortions in Indiana based upon polling results.”
Lawmakers will also discuss a bill allocating $50 million toward social services for parents and children.
For financial relief from inflation, the Indiana House will consider Gov. Eric Holcomb’s proposed $225 tax refund. Hoosiers who are on disability or Social Security and haven’t filed tax returns would still be able to get the refund by submitting an affidavit to the state.
But the state Senate has released a different proposal. Instead of the tax refund, the state would suspend the 7% sales tax on residential utilities – such as water, electricity and internet – for six months. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, that would save the average Hoosier household $120 and cost the state about $322 million.
The gas sales tax would be capped at 29.5 cents per gallon through next June.
The Senate’s proposal also includes $400 million to pay down teacher pension debt and $215 million to cover increased costs of construction projects.
It’s possible parts of both proposals could wind up in the final bill.
“With $6.1 billion in reserves, I think there will be tremendous pressure on the legislature to provide some sort of direct tax relief,” said Greg Weaver, managing editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal. “And so I think in the end, you will probably see some sort of a compromise.”
The special session begins Monday. Lawmakers have until August 14 to finish the session.