Sine Die 2023
Happy Sine Die! For those who may not be familiar with the Indiana General Assembly’s processes, Sine Die is the official term for the last day of the legislative session each year. Adjourning Sine Die means that both the House and Senate have passed each of the bills they have agreed on, together, and conclude legislative proceedings until the ceremonial beginning of the next legislative session in November. This morning, around 3:00 a.m., the House and Senate each passed the last piece of legislation of the 2023 Session (HB 1001, the biennial budget bill), packed up their bags, and headed back to their districts across the state to take a well-deserved break from legislating and resume their lives outside of the Statehouse.
Throughout the day yesterday and into this morning, several high-profile pieces of legislation were passed after hours, and in some cases, even days, of fierce negotiations between the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, and several at-odds stakeholder groups. Below is a recap of some of the most prominent bills passed:
HB 1001 (State budget)
The passage of the state budget bill this year was more hectic than usual, as three “final” iterations of the budget were released to the public at different times. The first draft budget was released in the early evening on Wednesday; however, only hours later, an updated draft was released with changes to a few Medicaid provisions. Furthermore, a third and final draft was released Thursday evening, that proposed increasing funding for public K-12 institutions. While, traditionally, the legislature requires that the final budget proposal be available to the public at least 24 hours prior to taking legislative action, both the House and Senate waived the rule, due to the changes being relatively minor and well received, and passed HB 1001 almost along party lines, with a few Democrats in support and one Republican in opposition. The final bill can be found here.
HB 1002 (Education and workforce development)
The bill to “reinvent high school in Indiana” successfully cleared its final hurdle in the legislative process last night, now heading to the Governor’s desk for signing. This legislation was one of the last major bills to pass and much of the language was reverted to how it passed House before the Senate made changes. Included within is language that prioritizes work-based learning opportunities for high school students, which many see as the State’s effort to remedy Indiana’s college going rate, which was well below the national average last year. The final bill can be found here.
HB 1004 (Health care matters)
HB 1004 was closely watched as it made its way through the process yesterday. Language was added into the final version that creates a health care cost oversight task force, requires additional reporting from Indiana nonprofit hospitals regarding pricing, and provides further exemptions from proposals included in the Senate-passed version of the bill. The final bill can be found here.
HB 1447 (Education matters)
HB 1447 became one of the most controversial bills considered in the last few days of session, as language was added to the bill that would allow school librarians to be criminally prosecuted if they supply “harmful materials” to minors. Mostly targeting content with sexual references, the legislation disallows a librarian from claiming that the material was provided for educational purposes as a legal defense. The full bill can be found here.
SB 3 (State and local tax review task force)
SB 3 passed with bipartisan support, creating a two-year task force charged with studying Indiana’s current tax system, with a specific focus on property tax caps and the possibility of eliminating the income tax. While the House amended the bill to decrease the length of the study to one year and allow for the task force’s chairperson to be appointed by the House, final language adopted in conference committee revived the two-year duration and, instead of allowing one Chamber to appoint the chairperson, a power-sharing structure was created. The full proposal can be found here.
SB 8 (Prescription drug rebates and pricing)
SB 8, aiming to address rising pharmaceutical costs, requires pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to pass through rebate savings from drug manufacturers to patients. The language specifies that either 100% of those rebates must go to lowering premiums or that 85% of savings must be passed onto consumers. The House added language requiring the pass-through entities to submit a report to the Department of Insurance every six months. While the proposal was particularly divisive and divided the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, it passed both Chambers and now goes to the Governor’s desk for signing. The full proposal can be found here.
HB 1499 (Various tax matters)
What started as a targeted measure to temporarily provide property tax relief to Hoosiers, legislators made substantial changes to HB 1499 as it worked its way through the legislative process before successfully passing out of both chambers. As originally introduced, HB 1499 sought to temporarily lower property tax caps in an effort to provide relief to Hoosier taxpayers experiencing larger-than-usual property tax increases in 2023. The original proposal was met with pushback in the Senate, however, due to the fiscal impact it would have on local governments. Eager to provide some form of tax relief, legislators negotiated HB 1499 into its final form up to the final hours of session, ultimately crafting language that gives more flexibility to local units and expected to offer up to $100 million in tax relief to Hoosiers across the state. The final tax proposal can be found here.
As any session does, this session came with highs and lows, wins and losses, good days and bad days, and many, MANY twists and turns along the way. While we will miss the daily chats with legislators and our colleagues in the hallway at the Statehouse, our team is looking forward to the warmer months ahead, planning next year’s legislative priorities with each of our clients. It is truly a pleasure serving all of our clients at the Statehouse and beyond each and every day, and we look forward to future successes, together.
Until Next Time,
The Government Relations Team
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