INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana General Assembly is expected to meet in person starting Monday as they plan to discuss legislation about abortion rights and plans to combat inflation.
The 2022 special session technically started on July 6, the day Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, R, called the general assembly to meet, but it was delayed a week before it was scheduled to start to July 25.
The move was made in coordination between Holcomb, House Speaker Todd Huston, R, and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R, as they prepared to discuss abortion.
Lawmakers will need to complete their work by Aug. 14, 40 days after the special session started on July 6.
On Wednesday afternoon, Indiana State Senate Republicans are holding a press conference to discuss their plans for the special session
You can watch the response from Senate Democrats below.
Here’s what you need to know and what to expect before the 2022 Indiana special session.
What is a special session?
When the governor of Indiana feels the Indiana General Assembly must meet outside of the regular session because the public welfare requires it, they are able to call a special session with a proclamation, according to the general assembly’s website.
The regular session, by law, starts “on the Tuesday next after the second Monday” of January each year. They can meet on another day, or at a place besides the Indiana Statehouse, if appointed by law.
Under state law, the general assembly has 40 days to complete their work from the start of a special session.
When does a special session happen?
Special sessions in Indiana aren’t common and they don’t happen every year. Historically, like the nine called since 1970, have been to complete the state’s budget, which needs to be done by June 30 every other year, according to Nikki Kelly for the Indiana Capitol Chronicle.
In 2018, a special session was called by Holcomb for the general assembly to pass several bills, including House Bill 1315. The bill, which passed during the special session, would give Ball State University assume responsibility for Muncie Community Schools and appoint school board members.
The passage of the bill allows the university to appoint members to the school board. The bill came after the state placed the school under direct, state-government control, according to the university.
In 2002, lawmakers were called back for a special session by then Gov. Frank O’Bannon, D, to fix a budget crisis as the state was drowning in debt.
They were called back on May 15, 2002, but then promptly adjourned until at least June 3 while the House Ways and Means Committee worked to come up with a compromise, according to WRTV reporting at the time. The move was made to try to save the state some money.
What can we expect during the Indiana 2022 special session?
During a press conference on Wednesday, Bray said Senate Republicans to take up three bills: a bill addressing abortions, providing support to expecting mothers and a providing inflation relief to Hoosiers.
He said it will be a "normal" legislative process and hopes it will be civil.
State Sen. Sue Glick, R-La Grange, the author of Senate Bill 1, which will address abortions, discussed some of the details of the bill, including exceptions for abortions in cases to protect the life of the mother, rape or incest.
Senate Bill 2 will help provide funding to help support expecting mothers.
Senate Bill 3 will address inflation relief for Hoosiers. It will cap the gas tax for a limited amount of time and offer a reprieve from sales tax on utilities.
In response, House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) released the following statement.
“It is unconscionable that Indiana Republicans are gambling with the lives of Hoosier women to gain points in an ultimately unwinnable culture war," GiaQuinta said in a statement. "The choice to have an abortion is a personal decision that ought to be left up to a woman and her health care provider, not Republicans who are playing doctor in the Indiana Statehouse.”
What is the schedule for the 2022 Indiana special session?
During Wednesday's press conference, Senate Republicans announced the following schedule, though they said it is subject to change:
- 11 a.m. Monday: First reading on Senate Bill 1
- 1-5 p.m. Monday: Public comment on Senate Bill 1 in the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure. Citizens who wish to testify will need to sign up before the state of committee, which can be done online or in person. Citizens must check in outside the senate chamber. The committee will adjourn before 5 p.m. if everyone who signed up to testified has done so.
- 9 a.m.-Noon Tuesday: Additional public comment on Senate Bill 1 in the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure.
- After public comment (Tuesday): Vote on Senate Bill 1
- 2- 5 p.m. Tuesday: The Senate Committee on Appropriations will meet in the Senate Chamber to hear Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 3. Citizens who want to testify will again need to sign up.
- 1:30 p.m. Wednesday: The Senate will meet to adopt committee reports. According to a press release from Senate Republicans, this is procedural and debate on bills typically doesn't happen here.
- 1:30 p.m. Thursday: The Senate will meet for a second reading on Senate Bills. Senators may offer debate and vote on amendments to bills.
- 10:30 a.m. Friday: Senate will meet for a third reading and a final vote is expected.
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