INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana General Assembly started meeting on Monday morning to work on legislation related to abortions and fighting 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.
Lawmakers will need to complete their work by Aug. 14, 40 days after the special session started on July 6.
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Updates from thoughout the session were posted below.
11:15 p.m. Friday: Governor Holcomb sings both Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2
10 p.m. Friday: Senate sends abortion bill to Gov. Holcomb
With a 28-19 vote, the Senate has sent Senate Bill 1, which bans abortion in all cases except for rape, incest and life of the mother, to the desk of Gov. Eric Holcomb.
4 p.m. Friday: Senate sends inflation bill to Gov. Holcomb
With a 37-9 vote, the Senate has sent Senate Bill 2, which aims to provide inflation relief, to Gov Eric Holcomb.
In a statement issued Thursday, Holcomb said he looks forward to signing the legislation. It's not clear when he will do this.
The Senate is expected to meet around 6:30 p.m. Friday to discuss a motion to concur Senate Bill 1, which deals with abortion. If it passes, the bill will also head to Holcomb's desk.
2:55 p.m. Friday: Senate begins consderation on Senate Bill 2; Senate Bill 1 consideration expected this evening
The Senate has started a session with a motion to concur on Senate Bill 2, which aims to provide inflation relief.
Under Senate rules, there is a four-hour waiting period before the Senate can hear bills that come back from the House. This means they won’t be able to hear Senate Bill 1, which deals with abortion, until about 6:30 p.m.
The Senate expects to return around then to consider Senate Bill 1.
1:30 p.m. Friday: House passes abortion bill, sends it back to Senate
With a 62-38 vote, the House passed Senate Bill 1, dealing with abortion, and sent it back to the Senate. The Senate briefly met around 1:30 p.m. and then recessed until about 2:30 p.m.
The House adjourned right after the vote as protesters started chanting "shame on you."
Republican lawmakers were escorted by Indiana State Police as they left the chambers, according to WRTV Reporter Meredith Hackler.
House Speaker State Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, said Senate Bill 1, if passed, would take "a giant step toward improving protections for Hoosier women and the unborn."
"We've heard from countless Hoosiers across the state who've shared their personal and emotional stories, and I'm thankful for their testimony," Huston said in an emailed statement. "I believe these have been the most difficult and contentious issues before the state legislature, but Indiana has found a thoughtful way forward that shows compassion for both mothers and babies."
In a statement released right after the vote, House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, said he still stands against "any policy would further police or control your right to choose."
"Today, radical and out-of-touch conservatives in the House rammed through authoritarian legislation on the principles of forced birth and human suffering," GiaQuinta said in the statement.
He said it has been one of the most emotionally challenging issues the general assembly has taken up since he joined.
"Like many Hoosiers yesterday, I watched in shock and horror as a majority of my colleagues across the aisle voted to completely strip the choice of rape and incest victims to reclaim bodily control and autonomy and as a significant number of them voted to strip exceptions for fatal fetal anomalies," he said. "The fight to secure legal abortion access has only begun. It’s a dark day in Indiana but I believe that the will of the overwhelming majority of Hoosiers will ultimately prevail.”
1:25 p.m. Friday: House continues to discuss abortion legislation
State representatives are still discussing Senate Bill 1, dealing with abortion, on Friday afternoon.
Some Republicans, including State Rep. Matt Hostettler, R-Patoka, urged legislators to vote no on the bill and come back during the regular session to "do something right."
State Rep. Ann Vermilion, R-Marion, said she is a pro-life woman, but is also pro-woman. She said she believes the government shouldn't take away a woman's access to medical care.
State Rep. Ragen Hatcher, D-Gary, said there is no other scenario of the government telling people what to do with their bodies. She brought up examples of the COVID-19 vaccine and masks.
As representatives are discussing the bill, protesters were outside the chamber.
LOUD Demonstrators chant “Pro-life is a lie. You don’t care if people die” as Indiana House debates abortion ban pic.twitter.com/3R8O8JGNGc
— Vic Ryckaert (@VicRyc) August 5, 2022
Kayla Meyer, Eliza, 1, Ava, 11, at the Statehouse to let lawmakers hear their voices pic.twitter.com/czaEmJ5Y88
— Vic Ryckaert (@VicRyc) August 5, 2022
The Senate is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Friday: 10:10 a.m.: Houses passes Senate Bill 2 aimed at inflation relief with 93-6 vote
With a 93-6 vote, the Indiana House has passed Senate Bill 2.
The bill will go back to the Senate, expected to happen later today, and then go to the governor if it passes.
The House is now discussing Senate Bill 1, which deals with abortion.
You can watch it live on WRTV.com, the WRTV app and the WRTV Live Stream.
9:30 a.m. Friday: House expected to take final readings, votes on bills
The House is beginning its session on Friday morning with the third reading of Senate Bill 2.
The bill relates to inflation and will give Hoosier taxpayers a $200 refund, an option for people who didn't file taxes and put money towards some social services.
Protesters outside the House chamber can be heard through a live stream of the session.
Thursday: House, Senate appear to reach compromise on inflation bills
The inflation bill the House voted on Thursday is a compromise between the two chambers.
The original $225 proposed refund has been reduced to $200 but now expands who gets the refund.
It allows for Hoosiers who didn't file taxes, namely those on social security, to claim the credit on next year's taxes.
It also caps the gas sales tax until July 2023.
The bill uses $45 million to establish the Hoosier Family First Fund, a portion of the bill that was deleted earlier this year. The compromise also keeps a provision from the House for no sales tax on diapers.
And, if the state has significant surplus revenues, the first billion dollars would go toward paying down debt in a state teacher pension fund.
In a statement Thursday evening, Gov. Eric Holcomb said he is "extremely pleased" to see the House advance Senate Bill 2.
"After all, this is the reason I called the General Assembly back into special session and I’m grateful they have acted swiftly and collaboratively to advance this much needed bill to third reading in the House tomorrow," Holcomb said. "No less important is the package of robust programming to strengthen the health outcomes for Hoosier women and babies. The contents of this current bill now reflect strong contributions from all corners of the General Assembly and I look forward to signing it as soon as it arrives on my desk.”
Both bills are expected to go to the full House for a vote on Friday. if they pass, they go back to the Senate.
The Senate can pass those versions of the bill or a conference committee will come together to sort out the differences.
WRTV Report Kayla Molander contributed to this report.
5:30 p.m. Thursday: House wraps up second reading of abortion bill; final vote expected Friday
The House finished the second reading of Senate Bill 1, the Senate's abortion bill, and approved one amendment.
The amendment, authored by Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, changes the bill's effective date from Sept. 1 to Sept. 15. It passed with a voice vote.
The House is expected to meet for a third reading of the bill and final vote on Friday.
The House is now debating amendments to Senate Bill 2, which deals with inflation relief.
5:25 p.m. Thursday: House still debating abortion legislation
There was a push to get Senate Bill 1, the Senate's bill dealing with abortion, killed altogether Thursday. It would have banned abortion altogether.
But that failed with only seven House members voting for it.
As it stands now, the bill will prohibit abortion except in cases of rape, incest, life of the mother and fatal fetal anomalies.
In cases of rape and incest, a woman has 10 weeks to seek an abortion. This is a point of contention amongst lawmakers.
The House is still meeting Thursday evening to work through more than 80 amendments filed. So far, none of the amendments have passed.
WRTV Reporter Meredith Hackler contributed to this report.
5 p.m. Thursday: Senate cancels session; House still expected to hear inflation legislation
In an unexpected move, the Senate canceled its session Thursday and said it would meet at 1:30 p.m. Friday instead.
The House is still set to hear amendments to Senate Bill 2, which was previously amended by the House to give Hoosier taxpayers a $225 refund, give an option to those who didn't file taxes and puts $45 million to current social service programs.
The House was scheduled to meet Thursday morning, but they didn't start its session until the afternoon. When they did start meeting, they started discussing Senate Bill 1, which deals with abortion.
WRTV Reporter Kaitlyn Kendall contributed to this report.
Thursday: House remembers Congresswoman Jackie Walorski after deadly car crash
Before House members recessed and went into caucus meetings, Indiana representatives honored U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorksi after she was killed in a crash Wednesday.
State Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceloa, honored Walorski and led a prayer. Wesco took over Walorski's state district and called her a mentor.
Walorski was one of three people killed in a crash Wednesday in Elkhart County. On Thursday, the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office said the driver of the vehicle she was in crossed the center line and struck another vehicle.
Walorski and two of her staffers, Emma Thompson and Zachery Potts, and Edith Schumucker, the driver of the other car involved, were all killed.
11:15 a.m. Thursday: Indy Chamber urges Indiana lawmakers 'not to proceed' with abortion bill
The Indy Chamber is urging Indiana lawmakers "not to proceed" with proposed abortion legislation during the special session and said the speed of the process has left "fundamental" questions unanswered.
In a statement issued Tuesday morning, Indy Chamber said the "expedited legislative process" to advance state policy on abortion is "at best, detrimental to Hoosiers, and at worst, reckless."
Read the full story here.
Wednesday: House and Senate back and forth on inflation, abortion legislation continues
Update by: Meredith Hackler
Both the House and the Senate remain at odds over who's policy will properly address inflation relief.
The Senate stripped the House's inflation bill and replaced it with language mirroring theirs.
The House's legislation would give Hoosier taxpayers a $225 refund and provide an option for those who didn't file taxes to get the relief too.
The plan gives more tax cuts for adoption and people with children and gives tax exemptions on diapers. It would reallocate the $45 million the Senate dedicated to the Hoosier Family First Fund and invest it into current social services programming.
On the Senate side, their inflation relief plan on capping the gas tax until next June. It also provides a temporary sales tax exemption on residential utilities.
The Senate Bill creates the Hoosier Family First Fund by dedicating $45 million to it.
Both chambers say they should come to an agreement by Friday where final bills on inflation and abortion should be crafted.
6:15 p.m. Tuesday: House committee sends abortion bill to full House; one Republican votes no
After about nine hours of public testimony and discussion, the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee voted to send Senate Bill 1 back to the full House.
It passed with an 8-5 vote to send it back to the full House. One Republican, Rep. Cindy Ziemke, Batesville, voted no on the bill.
She explained her vote to the committee and said she believes abortion is a decision between a woman and their healthcare providers and Indiana should allow abortions within the first trimester.
The House will meet later this evening to accept committee reports. This is a procedural thing and debate isn't expected.
The House will meet on Thursday morning again for second readings of the bills.
4:15 p.m. Tuesday: House committee strips Senate Bill 2; passes amendment to give taxpayers $225 refund
Senate Bill 2, originally slated to address an influx of women who needed help raising children once the abortion bill passes, was stripped by the House Ways and Means Committee.
The changes in amendment 6 put the house's inflation plan in and would give Hoosier taxpayers a $225 refund, something not in the Senate plan.
The changes also provide for additional tax exemptions for adoption. Amendment 6 gets rid of the Hoosier Family First Fund and reallocates the $45 million to existing social services.
The Senate's plan to provide inflation relief, Senate Bill 3, would have capped the gas tax for a period of time and would provide sales tax exemption on residential utilities. It was sent to the House but it hasn't been assigned to a House committee yet.
Lawmakers told WRTV the bill isn't dead, they just aren't sure what they are going to do with it yet.
State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, said the committee feels the House's inflation plan provides better relief for all Hoosiers.
"The amount of money is widely variable over the tax incentive they give back," Brown said. "I mean if you have a big house and you use a lot of utilities you will get a bigger refund than if you are not as well income and have a smaller house."
Democrats said Hoosiers deserve even more.
"We do have a $6 billion surplus, you know, continuing to collect so many tax dollars is irresponsible of the state so I think we need to do something," Rep. Chris Campbell, D-West Lafayette, said.
The House is still hearing public testimony on Senate Bill 1 and will until about 5 p.m. At about 5:30 p.m., the House is expected to accept the committee reports.
WRTV Reporter Meredith Hackler contributed to this report.
1:30 p.m. Tuesday: Public testimony on abortion bill continues in House committee
Several doctors have already testified, some support access to abortion and others don't. But both agree on the bill needs more clarity on what is considered abortion to protect the mother's life.
"I am asking you to let me do my job," Dr. Caroline Rouse, a physician with Riley Children's Health's Maternal Fetal Medicine. "My job is to predict and prevent complications and death as best I can. Not to wait until catastrophe occurs and then act. In cases where pregnancy increases the risk of serious complications and death, discussing abortion is my medical and ethical responsibility."
"The current wording of impairment of life or physical health is not only too broad, but it also fails to give clear guidance for physicians to determine whether a pre-viability delivery would be allowed," Dr. Christina Francis, an OBGYN in Fort Wayne. "This has the danger of either allowing abortions for any reason or making physicians hesitate to intervene in a potentially life-threatening situation."
WRTV Report Meredith Hackler contributed to this report.
10 a.m. Tuesday: House committee passes amendment clarifying, changing parts of Senate abortion bill
After a brief introduction and rules for the day, Committee Chair Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, introduced amendment 25, which changes and clarifies several things.
The amendment also removes the Indiana Attorney General's ability to prosecute crimes if a county prosecutor "categorically" refuses to.
The amendment, which passed by consent, does the following things, McNamara said.
- Uses existing code for clarity
- Limits abortions to expect to protect the life and physical health of the mother, in cases of rape or incest and when the fetus is diagnosed with a lethal fatal anomaly
- Abortions, medical and surgical, can only happen at a hospital or outpatient ambulatory center owned by a hospital
- Maintains existing penalties for a person who performs an unlawful abortion
- Requires the physician's license to be revoked for specific violations
- Requires terminated pregnancy report to include the reason for abortion, why it was performed and needs to be compiled quarterly instead of yearly
- Creates an 11-member task force to put together and report and present it to the Indiana General Assembly by Dec. 1, 2022, regarding cases of when a county prosecutor makes blanket refusals to enforce state laws or constitutional provisions
McNamara said the amendment provides the defense of the mother to ensure she cannot be criminalized. She said the amendment also doesn't change access to birth control or the morning-after pill.
"Most importantly, it does not criminalize a woman seeking an abortion," McNamara said.
The amendment also changes the time limit to receive an abortion to 10 weeks, regardless of age or circumstances.
When asked by State Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, about the reasoning, McNamara said because the Senate made a distinction on age, setting the limit at 10 weeks for everyone would provide clarity.
"Most abortions occur between six and eight weeks," McNamara said. "About 78% will be under 10 weeks."
"I would support taking the amendment by consent because I think it fixes a lot of problems that were created in the Senate as the bill moved along, but as you can probably imagine there are still a lot of problematic things in my viewpoint that remain. I do think this takes care of a number of problems in the bill."
Public testimony is underway now. Each person will get three minutes to speak.
As public testimony continues
9 a.m. Tuesday: House committees meet to discuss bills from Senate
Two House committees are meeting Tuesday morning to discuss two bills from the Senate.
In the House chambers, the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee will hear testimony on Senate Bill 1, which is related to abortion.
In another room, the House Ways and Means Committee will hear testimony on Senate Bill 2, which will help provide funding to support expecting mothers.
The House is expected to meet around 5:30 p.m. after the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee hears Senate Bill 1.
2:10 p.m. Monday: Two Senate bills officially sent to House committees; move by Democrat to end abortion bill blocked
The House met for about 10 minutes Monday to officially send two bills from the Senate to House committees.
State Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, tried to strike down sending Senate Bill 1, the abortion bill, to a committee under House rule 116.
"There are some bills that are just such bad public policy and just not ready for prime time, that it doesn't make sense to continue with them to assign them to a committee," Pierce said.
He said based on how the proceedings went during the Senate sessions, it would be best to wait until the normal session so everyone could introduce the legislation they like and the bills could be considered over a series of months.
State Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, said the motion should be rejected.
"I guess really the main reason is very simple and that is it would end the process," Lehman said. "We are an entity of process. We tell the public we are going to come down here and give you the opportunity to debate the issues, bring your testimony, and bring your passion, bring your issues and we will debate those. We will give you a chance to speak your mind, we'll vet all that and we'll make the process work."
The motion by Pierce failed with a 25-68 vote.
12:40 p.m. Monday: House to send abortion bill to Courts and Criminal Code Committee
According to the Indiana General Assembly, Senate Bill 1, which is related to abortion, will go to the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee.
In the Senate, the bill was sent to the Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee.
The House committee will hear public testimony on the bill starting at noon Tuesday. People must sign up online or in-person starting at 8 a.m. outside the House chamber.
The House is still expected to meet at 1:30 p.m. Monday to assign two bills from the Senate to committees.
11:15a.m. Monday: House releases schedule for this week
In about two hours, the House is expected to start its second week of Indiana's 2022 Special Session.
On Monday, the House is expected to meet at 1:30 p.m. to assign bills passed over from the Senate and be assigned committees. These include Senate Bill 1, which is related to abortion, and Senate Bill 2, which will help provide funding to support expecting mothers.
Senate Bill 3, the Senate's version of a bill to help fight inflation, wasn't mentioned on the schedule released by House Republicans. The Senate's bill would cap the gas tax for a limited time and offer a reprieve from sales tax on utilities.
The House's bill to fight inflation, which would give Hoosier taxpayers an automatic $225 refund, was sent to the Senate. The Senate is expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss it.
Here's the rest of the expected schedule for the House this week:
- 9 a.m. Tuesday: Committee meeting on Senate Bill 1 in the House Chamber, Ways and Means Committee hears Senate Bill 2 in Room 404.
- Tuesday after committee meeting: The House will have a session 30 minutes after the committee meeting on Senate Bill 1.
- Wednesday: No House session planned
- 9 a.m. Thursday: House session
- 9 a.m. Friday: House session
4 p.m. Saturday, July 30: IU Health releases statement in response to the passage of Senate Bill 1
In a statement issued after the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, IU Health said the bill's restrictions on a physician to be able to do "what is medically proven and appropriate for the health and life of a pregnant parent."
That, plus the threat of criminalization, will impact its ability to "provide safe and effective patient care" and could deter physicians from living in and practicing in Indiana.
You can read the full statement below.
As the largest healthcare provider and only academic health center in the state, IU Health’s priority remains to ensure our physicians and patients have clarity when making decisions about pregnancy, including the ability to address not only life-saving interventions, but also to intercede when a pregnant woman’s health is at risk and to make sure our providers are not criminalized when doing so.
The bill’s restrictions on a physician’s ability to do what is medically proven and appropriate for the health and life of a pregnant patient, plus the threat of criminalization, impact our ability to provide safe and effective patient care and could deter physicians seeking to live and practice healthcare in Indiana.
3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 30: Senate passes Senate Bill 3
Senate Bill 3, which deals with fighting inflation, passed the Senate 40-4.
Senators Griffin, Lanane, Pol and Taylor voted against the bill. Six senators did not vote.
The bill now heads to the House.
2:45 p.m. Saturday, July 30: Senate passes Senate Bill 1
After hours of discussion, Indiana state senators voted to pass Senate Bill 1 by a vote of 26-20. 10 Republicans voted against the bill.
The bill now heads to the House.
You can see how your senator voted below.
The Senate is also set to discuss the third reading of the inflation relief bill Saturday.
Of the 10 Republican senators who voted against the bill, some felt it went too far while others said it didn't go far enough.
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) was asked why the legislature was working on a hot-button issue during a special session.
"So we will come back in January and we will have an opportunity to continue to debate this whether it needs to be changed, tweaked, things of that nature. There is probably more work that needs to be done on this but I think a lot of people in our caucus feels it's important because there are lives at risk right now of unborn children, so it's time to get to work on this, so that's why we are here," Bray said.
Republican leadership expects more changes will come to the bill in the House.
"They will flesh in some of the things that were brought up in the questioning and brought up in the debate. I think it's important that we keep our minds open and keep the ideas flowing," Republican Sen. Sue Glick, who authored the bill, said.
After the session, Democrats said "no one won today."
"Serious issues remain with SB1, including loopholes that will allow most abortions to continue in Indiana, and even a rollback on some protections that currently exist for the unborn," Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fitcher said in a statement. "We are hopeful these concerns will be fixed in the House and that SB1 will become a bill we can support. As it stands today, we remain opposed to SB1."
"The pro-life movement can't claim victory, the pro-choice movement can't claim victory, but what was evident is that the vote today was not about Hoosiers," Sen. Greg Taylor, (D-Indianapolis), said.
Protesters remained at the statehouse throughout the session and when the vote came in, WRTV's Kayla Molander reports the sound was deafening. She saw many women crying while also vowing to come back and fight another day.
"I feel privileged in the sense that I can access the health care that I need, but I'm devastated for the people who are pregnant and will not be able to access the health care that they need," Mandi McKeen, a Bloomington resident who supports abortion rights, said.
The first reading of the bill will happen Monday when the House reconvenes.
WRTV Staff contributed to this update.
11 a.m. Saturday, July 30: Senate meets to vote on, discuss abortion bill
Senators began meeting at 11:15 a.m. Saturday to discuss Senate Bill 1.
Several protesters who are pro-abortion rights met inside the statehouse and outside the Senate chambers.
"I couldn't stay at home and do nothing. I wanted to be here and make my voice be heard, and tell the legislators today that if they vote yes for banning abortions in Indiana, we are going to vote them out of office. Mark my words," Peggy Trelford, a West Lafayette resident who drove more than an hour to arrive at the Statehouse before the session, said.
As senators entered, protesters could be heard chanting "shame."
We're about an hour into the Senate discussion on Senate Bill 1. As senators entered the chambers, several protesters chanted "shame."— WRTV Indianapolis (@wrtv) July 30, 2022
You can watch the discussion now at https://t.co/1cTjCLXuFL
*sign censored for profanity pic.twitter.com/Dk13Vfdndk
Both Democratic and Republican senators spoke during the nearly four-hour-long session on the topic of abortion. WRTV did not see any anti-abortion rights protesters at the statehouse Saturday.
WRTV Staff contributed to this update.
2:55 p.m. Friday, July 29: House approves bill to send $225 refund to Hoosier taxpayers
After about an hour and a half of discussion, House Bill 1001, which would give Hoosier taxpayers an automatic $225 refund, passed the House and will now move to the Senate.
The bill passed with a 93-2 vote.
The House adjourned Friday's session. It's not yet clear when they will meet again.
A motion was made to adjourn Sine Die, which would have meant the ended the special session without hearing bills from the Senate, but it failed.
1:50 p.m. Friday, July 29: House meets for third reading of House Bill 1001
The House is gathering for the third reading of House Bill 1001, which aims to help fight inflation.
The bill would give Hoosier taxpayers an automatic $225 refund, which was proposed by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.
On Thursday, lawmakers weighed more than 60 amendments. Nearly all introduced by Democrats failed along party-line votes.
The bill also includes suspending residential utility taxes for six months and will cap the gas tax at $0.29 per gallon.
1 p.m. Friday, July 29: Senate finishes second reading of Senate Bill 3, passes Senate Bill 2
The Senate finished its second reading of Senate Bill 3, which deals with fighting inflation, and began a discussion of Senate Bill 2 after a brief recess.
Of the eight amendments filed for Senate Bill 3, only two passed.
One, amendment 1, clarifies the language of the utility tax holiday to include utilities including electrical energy, gas, water, steam, and petroleum gas to residential customers.
The other amendment, amendment 2, clarifies language regarding the bill cycle.
Three other amendments failed, including an amendment to give taxpayers a $400 automatic refund.
Senate Bill 2 passed its third hearing with a 46-1 vote. The bill will now go to the House.
The bill would appropriate $45 million to state agencies for certain prenatal, pregnancy, postnatal and pediatric wellness services.
State Minority Leader Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, was the only one to vote no. He said he was voting no on the bill because it wouldn't send the money to the people who need it the most.
The Senate has now recessed until about 11 a.m. Saturday.
10:55 a.m. Friday, July 29: Senate begins session with second reading of Senate Bill 3
The Senate has started its discussions on day five of the Indiana Special Session.
Senators are currently discussing amendments to Senate Bill 3 during its second reading.
10:50 a.m. Friday, July 29: Indiana Right to Life on Senate Bill 1: 'We stand opposed to SB 1'
In a statement issued Friday morning, Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter said the organization is still opposed to Senate Bill 1.
Fichter said the organization is encouraged by the amendment giving the attorney general the power to prosecute illegal abortions, but said the bill still has "vague life-of-the-mother exception" and will be "easily exploited to cover most abortions."
You can read Fichter's full statement below:
Indiana Right to Life remains opposed to SB1.
We are encouraged by the addition of language giving the attorney general the power to prosecute when illegal abortions occur, but SB1 contains a vague life-of-the-mother exception that will be easily exploited to cover most abortions. An amendment to help fix this problem was voted down last night, with the help of many Republican senators who previously indicated to voters on candidate surveys that they supported no exceptions, or a life-of-the-mother exception only.
SB1 lacks any requirement that claims of rape be reported to police, denying women the help they need while allowing perpetrators to escape justice and seek other victims.
In addition, SB1 redefines abortion so that the intentional killing of a fully alive unborn child with severe disabilities will no longer be considered an abortion under Indiana law. This changing of definition will open the floodgates for funding of these types of procedures, while creating a bypass of Indiana’s ban on discriminatory abortions based solely on disability, and a bypass of Indiana’s ban on trafficking of aborted fetal body parts, all because the killing of these children will no longer be called abortions under the law.
To anyone who might claim this is an abortion ban, we would simply point to the section of SB1 referencing new rules for existing and future abortion clinics in Indiana. We did not wait 50 years for the full reversal of Roe vs. Wade for this.
We stand opposed to SB1.
In a statement Friday afternoon, National Right to Life said they join Indiana Right to Life and oppose Senate Bill 1.
You can read the full statement below:
National Right to Life stands with its Indiana affiliate, Indiana Right to Life, in opposing SB 1.
Indiana’s SB 1 is a phony bill that would do the opposite of what its proponents claim that it would do. SB 1 would fail to protect lives and endanger vulnerable women and their unborn children.
SB 1 was drafted without consultation from any state, local or national pro-life group or expert. Instead, SB 1 was drafted with the advice from organizations and experts who have made abortion on demand part of their mission.
SB 1 contains vague language and ill-defined terms which would actually protect abortion instead of protecting unborn children. SB 1 also would undermine existing protections for unborn children with disabilities.
The pro-life movement calls upon pro-life legislators in the Indiana legislature to reject this travesty of a bill.
10:30 a.m. Friday, July 29: Senate Republicans delay start of session until 10:40 a.m.
Indiana Senate Republicans have delayed the start of Friday's special session meeting until 10:40 a.m.
The reason for the delay isn't clear.
WRTV will update this live blog once the session starts.
Senate Bill 1, the bill related to abortion, will have its third reading on Saturday since the second hearing finished early Friday morning. Because of Senate rules, the second and third hearings can't happen on the same day.
Senators are expected to have the second reading of Senate Bill 3, which related to fighting inflation, and a third reading of Senate Bill 2, which will increase funding for social services for women who are pregnant.
9:40 p.m. Thursday, July 28: Amendment to remove rape, incest exceptions from Indiana abortion bill fails
After about two hours of discussion, an amendment introduced to remove exceptions of rape and incest from Senate Bill 1 failed.
It failed with a 28-18 vote.
The amendment would've keep the life of the mother exception.
It was introduced by State Sen. Mike Young, R-Indianapolis.
"Exceptions equal death," Young said.
He said he plans to introduce another amendment saying being pregnant at 16 or younger would qualify as a "life of the mother" exception" because giving birth under the age of 16 would be a life risk.
When asked about religious exemptions, specifically about the Jewish faith, Young said he was told to take his religion out of the abortion debate and thinks other faiths should do the same.
State Sen. Fady Qaddoura, D-Indianapolis, called the amendment "extreme."
Several Republicans, including Sen. Susan Glick, R-LaGrange, who authored the bill, and State Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Vanderburgh County, spoke out against the amendment.
Several Republicans spoke in support of the amendment.
WRTV Reporter Kayla Molander contributed to this update.
7:10 p.m. Thursday, July 28: Senate begins discussion on amendments to abortion bill
After about two hours of discussion on Senate Bill 2, the Senate has begun discussion on the more than 60 amendments filed about Senate Bill 1.
The first amendment to be discussed is amendment 3, which would give the attorney general the ability to prosecute abortions in case local prosecutors don't prosecute cases.
State Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, said it was in response to Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears previously saying his office wouldn't focus on abortion-related cases.
State Minority Leader Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, said Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita shouldn't be able to prosecute abortions because of his comments regarding Dr. Caitlin Bernard.
The amendment passed with a voice vote.
6:15 p.m. Thursday, July 28: House debates inflation relief during second readings
The Indiana House met Thursday for the second reading of HB 1001, which deals with inflation relief.
The bill would give Hoosier taxpayers an automatic $225 refund if it passes. This is what was proposed by Gov. Eric Holcomb and why he called the special session.
There are 63 amendments to the bill. On Thursday, Democrats introduced their amendments and nearly all were shot down across party lines.
The House hasn't really started debate on amendments related to inflation relief just yet. That debate is expected during the third reading on Friday.
Much of the discussion on Thursday was on the amendments focused on family matters.
The bill passed a House committee earlier this week and a full house vote is expected soon.
WRTV Reporter Kaitlyn Kendall contributed to this update.
5 p.m. Thursday, July 28: Senate session to begin after more than three hours of delays
After more than three hours of delays, Senators are starting to meet for more discussion on bills.
Senators pushed Senate Bill 1 to the back of the bills, meaning it will be the last one they discuss.
Senators will start with Senate Bill 2, which has 18 amendments, before they move on to Senate Bill 3.
The start of the session comes after more than three hours of delays.
While an official reason wasn't given by Republicans, Democrats said it has to do with more than 60 amendments filed to change Senate Bill 1, which deals with abortion.
Of those amendments, Democrats filed more than 30 of them.
One of the most notable amendments filed by Democrats would change how long a survivor of rape or incest has to get an abortion.
The way the bill stands now, a patient under 16 would have 12 weeks for an abortion or 8 weeks if they are older than 16.
One amendment would change the time frame to 20 weeks.
There are also several other amendments that would expand access to birth control.
Both sides told WRTV it will be a lengthy process.
WRTV Reporter Meredith Hackler contributed to this update.
3:55 p.m. Thursday, July 28: Senate delayed again.
Senate Republicans have delayed the start of the session again until 4:15 p.m.
WRTV will update this live blog once we have an official start time.
3:40 p.m. Thursday, July 28: Senate delayed until 3:55 p.m.
Senate Republicans have delayed the session again until 3:55 p.m. The session was originally scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.
Session has been delayed until 3:55 p.m.— INSenateRepublicans (@INSenateGOP) July 28, 2022
3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 28: Senate session delayed until 3:30 p.m.
According to a new tweet from Indiana Senate Republicans, the session has been delayed again until 3:45 p.m.
Session has been delayed until 3:45 p.m.— INSenateRepublicans (@INSenateGOP) July 28, 2022
1:20 p.m. Thursday, July 28: Senate session delayed until 3:30 p.m.
According to a tweet from Indiana Senate Republicans, the session to discuss proposed amendments and additional readings on bills has been delayed until 3:30 p.m.
Session has been delayed until 3:30 p.m.— INSenateRepublicans (@INSenateGOP) July 28, 2022
Additional details on why it was delayed haven't been released.
11:30 a.m. Thursday, July 28: Indiana Senate Democrats share their proposed amendments to abortion bill
Indiana Senate Democrats are holding a press conference to discuss their proposed amendments to Senate Bill 1, which relates to abortion.
This press conference comes about two hours before the full Senate is scheduled to meet to discuss the bill.
4:40 p.m. Wednesday, July 27: Senate meets to adopt committee reports
What was supposed to be a routine day at the statehouse for Senators to accept committee reports ended with Democratic Senators heated.
Democrats offered changes they would like to see to the bill, but Republicans blocked it.
The minority committee report they filed suggested three things to the legislation:
- The mother's life be taken into stronger consideration
- Increase the limit to when a woman can get an abortion following rape or incest to 20 weeks
- Offer a religious exception
The report was tabled by Republicans, meaning it couldn't be discussed today on the Senate floor.
The decision by Republicans is something Democratic floor leader Senator Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, frustrated.
"Today they blocked the people that who were elected by Hoosiers in this state from having a discussion that everybody wants them to have," Taylor said
A representative for the Republican leadership said the Democrats will be able to offer amendments tomorrow and they can be discussed then.
On Thursday, Senators will meet for a second reading on Senate bills starting at 1:30 p.m. Senators may offer debate and vote on amendments to bills.
WRTV Reporter Meredith Hackler contributed to this report.
8:55 a.m. Wednesday, July 27: Senate to meet to accept committee reports
State Senators are scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. today to adopt committee reports.
This is a procedural event and according to a press release last week from Senate Republicans, debate on bills typically doesn't happen here.
The House isn't expected to meet today.
4:20 p.m. Tuesday, July 26: Updates on legislation in the Indiana House, Senate to fight inflation
Two different bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, are focused on fighting inflation, which is the reason the special session was called.
While the Senate started with abortion legislation, the House focused on HB 1001, which calls for an automatic $225 refund to Hoosier taxpayers.
This was proposed by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, which is why he initially called the special session.
On Tuesday, the bill passed out of the House Ways and Means committee with a 22-0 vote. The house is expected to meet on Thursday for a second reading of the bill.
The public began to comment on Senate Bill 3, which will cap the gas tax at $0.29 per gallon until June 2023 and suspend the sales tax on residential utilities for six months, Tuesday afternoon.
The Senate Committee on Appropriations will hold public hearings and discuss the bill until about 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Senators are expected to meet Wednesday afternoon to adopt committee reports and will meet Thursday and Friday for additional readings, offer debate, vote on amendments and vote on the bill if it passes out of committee.
WRTV Reporter Rachael Wilkerson contributed to this report.
12:50 p.m. Tuesday, July 26: Senate committee sends abortion bill, Senate Bill 1, to full Senate after amendment discussion
A Senate committee will send Senate Bill 1, which relates to abortion, to the full Senate after a 7-5 vote Tuesday.
The vote was mostly along party lines, with the exception of one Republican.
State Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, said he contacted "every pro-life organization" and everyone asked him to vote no on the bill, which he did.
Several other Republicans, while they voted yes on the bill, still voiced their concerns about the bill.
The vote to send the bill to the full Senate came after more than an hour of discussion about several amendments.
After some discussion, the committee passed amendment 2 with a 7-5 vote, which says anyone under the age of 16 who is raped could only get an abortion up to 12 weeks. Anyone older than 16 could only get an abortion up to eight weeks after pregnancy.
The only Republican Senator to vote against it was Messmer.
It's not clear who authored the amendment because anonymous amendments are allowed when a bill is in committee.
After the vote, State Sen. Greg Taylor, D, got emotional and had to leave the chamber.
He didn't vote on the next amendment, amendment 17, which passed with an 8-4 vote.
Amendment 5, which would remove "the prohibition on telehealth being used for abortion," failed with a 4-8 vote.
Amendment 7, which would require legislation to be introduced during the 2023 regular session to extend life insurance, child support and child tax deductions to include fetuses, failed with a 4-8 vote.
Amendment 24 passed with a 7-5 vote.
Bray then moved to a discussion about the bill without discussing all of the amendments.
WRTV Reporter Meredith Hackler and Producer Ray Steele contributed to this update.
12:40 p.m. Tuesday, July 26: State Representative calls for House Speaker not to limit public testimony on Senate Bill 1
After public comment ended in a Senate committee on Senate Bill 1, which relates to abortion, State Rep. Maureen Bauer, D-South Bend, issued a statement asking for House Speaker Todd Huston and Republican leadership not to limit public testimony.
In the statement, she said public officials have an obligation to hear from people before deciding on an issue.
“If time is an issue, we shouldn't have cut the special session down from 40 days to just 21 days, by moving the start date from July 6 to July 25," Bauer said in the statement. "If time is a real concern, we should fully vet this bill in January, when we meet for a regular session of the General Assembly, instead of rushing it through a special session convened to address tax relief for residents."
She said everyone deserves time to participate in the legislative process.
"When we shut out the public, we are obstructing their right to engage in our democracy," she said. "The future of this institution depends on residents' full faith in this legislative body, and requires vigorous debate and public input.”
11:25 a.m. Tuesday, July 26: Senate committee finishes public comment, moves to discussion
The Senate Committee discussing Senate Bill 1, which relates to abortion, has closed public comment and started discussing amendments.
At least one person tried to provide comments after public comments were closed. Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R, and chair of the committee, thanked those who provided testimony and apologized to those who weren't able to.
There are several proposed amendments, 16 in total, currently being read in the chamber now. You can read the amendments here.
As the senators start talking about the amendments, you can hear protesters outside the chamber through a live stream.
— Nikki DeMentri (@nikkidementri) July 26, 2022
11 a.m. Tuesday, July 26: Indiana Right to Life rally happening now
10:40 a.m. Tuesday, July 26: Indiana Right to Life to hold rally at 11 a.m.
Indiana Right to Life is hosting a "Love Them Both" rally starting at 11 a.m. in the South Atrium at the Indiana Statehouse.
By about 9:45 a.m., WRTV Reporter Vic Ryckaert said about 200 people were already gathering and handing out blue T-shirts reading "Love Them Both."
Mary Bruemmer, of Lebanon, traveled to the statehouse with her husband, Ben, and sons, Zebulun and Emmaus, for the rally.
“We’re here to support life, and to support the women to be able to make the choice of life," she said.
While people are gathering and getting ready for the rally, public comment on Senate Bill 1 is still happening in the Senate chamber.
Some of those who are providing comments include Lakimba Desadier who represents Planned Parenthood.
Desadier spoke about the services Planned Parenthood offers.
Someone representing the National Right to Life chapter also spoke to senators.
8:25 a.m. Tuesday, July 26: Day 2 of the 2022 Indiana Special Session to begin at 9 a.m.
Public comment on Senate Bill 1 is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Once public comment ends, which will likely be around noon, the committee will vote on the vote to determine if it is sent to the full Senate.
Starting at 2 p.m., lawmakers on the Senate Committee on Appropriations will meet to hear Senate Bill 2 and 3. This is expected to go until about 5 p.m.
WRTV will again be updating this live blog throughout the day with live updates so continue to check back.
Also, you can watch full coverage of the special session from inside the chambers on the WRTV Live Stream. To watch, visit WRTV.com, the WRTV app or by searching WRTV on your streaming device.
The House session will begin at 10 a.m. when the Ways and Means Committee will meet to discuss legislation related to fighting inflation.
WRTV Reporter Meredith Hackler contributed to this update.
4:40 p.m. Monday, July 25: Public comment about to end for the day
Public comment on Senate Bill 1, which is related to abortion, will wrap up around 5 p.m. Monday.
Starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, public comment will resume on Senate Bill 1. The committee is expected to vote on the bill afterward.
From 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.
2:20 p.m. Monday: Why some of the protesters came to the Indiana Statehouse
While public comments are still underway inside the Senate chamber, protests are also still going on inside and outside.
Among those who are protesting today, WRTV reporters spoke with several people about why they were there today.
Gill Bezy, who traveled to Indianapolis from Clarksville, said the Supreme Court's decision was the right one and they want to see Indiana one of the first states to represent the people.
"They said they would do that, especially the Republicans, if Roe v. Wade was reversed, now we are going to see," Bezy said. "We are going to see if they have the guts to do that."
Bezy said they want to abolish abortion, "at any level" without any loopholes.
Jessica Bussert said it is a travesty the state is "even considering taking the rights to self-determine our own bodies."
Bussert told WRTV it is wonderful to see everyone in the statehouse who wants safe access to abortions in Indiana.
WRTV Digital Reporter Vic Ryckaert contributed to this update.
1 p.m. Monday, July 25: Public comment on abortion legislation begins
The Senate Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee is beginning to take public comment on Senate Bill 1, which is related to abortion.
Each person will have three minutes, but the chair, Senator Rodrick Bray, can extend the time if he sees fit.
The committee will hear public comments until 5 p.m. Monday. Public comment will resume at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
WRTV Reporter Meredith Hackler said protesters are chanting "my body my choice" outside the chamber. On a live stream of the hearing, you can hear them in the background.
WRTV Digital Reporter Vic Ryckaert tweeted this video of protesters inside the statehouse.
WRTV is live streaming public comments and all coverage on the special session. You can watch it on WRTV.com, the WRTV app or by searching WRTV on your streaming device.
12:45 p.m. Monday, July 25: Protesters move through Indianapolis
Police are starting to close down some roads near the Indiana Statehouse as protesters continue to gather.
Videos from WRTV reporters at the Indiana Statehouse show people in the streets protesting.
WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris said there are some arguments sparking up between people on both sides, but she said they aren't "holding steam."
Live video of the protests is below.
Note: This is a live feed and is not being screened. Viewer discretion is advised.
11:45 a.m. Monday, July 25: Rallies start at Indiana Statehouse as Harris meets with state lawmakers
As Vice President Kamala Harris meets with state lawmakers, rallies are starting inside the Indiana Statehouse.
Harris met with a group of lawmakers at the Indiana State Library.
A White House official said Harris joined the roundtable to convey the Biden administration's commitment to protect health care and abortion access.
During the roundtable, Harris thanked the lawmakers for allowing her to visit and Congressman Andre Carson for traveling with her to Indiana.
"Because the people at this table are not only local and state leaders, you are national leaders on the frontlines of one of the most critical issues facing our country," Harris said. "I want to thank Representative Carson for joining me and flying in with me today and for your leadership in Washington DC representing the people in the state of Indiana."
She spoke about how she believes people do not have to abandon their faith and beliefs to agree the government shouldn't make decisions for her.
"An individual should be able to choose based on their personal beliefs, and the dictates of their faith," Harris said. "But the government should not be telling an individual what to do, especially as it relates to one of the most intimate and personal decisions a woman could make."
Harris said Indiana is the first state since the Supreme Court decision to call a special session to propose abortion-related legislation. She called the proposed legislation "essentially" a ban on abortion.
"Do be clear, and maybe some people need to actually learn how a woman's body works, but when you understand how a woman's body works, you will understand that the parameters that are being proposed mean that for the vast majority of women, by the time she realized that she is pregnant, she will effectively be prohibited from having access to reproductive health care that would allow her to choose what happens to her body," Harris said.
She said she joined the lawmakers because President Joe Biden and her take their work "to stand in defense of women" throughout the country seriously.
"We are looking at an interpretation of the Constitution that suggests, Clarence Thomas said the quiet part out loud, that this puts at risk an individual's right to make decisions about contraception, puts at risk the right to marry the person you love," Harris said. "So when we discuss this issue, and when we contemplate what it means, understand that it could have a profound impact on just about everyone in our country who has any association or interest or concern about these various issues."
She is expected to leave Indiana Monday afternoon.
The following lawmakers met with Harris:
- Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, Indiana House Minority Leader
- Sen. Greg Taylor, Indiana Senate Minority Leader
- Rep. Cherrish Pryor, Indiana House Democratic Floor Leader
- Rep. Carey Hamilton, Indiana House Assistant Democratic Leader
- Sen. Jean Breaux, Indiana State Senator
- Congressman Andre Carson (D-07)
You can watch the roundtable below.
As Harris was meeting with the lawmakers, hundreds gathered inside and outside the Indiana Statehouse to rally.
The ACLU held a "Bans Off Our Bodies" rally inside. It started with a prayer. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Prosecutor attended the rally.
Outside, people are still gathered.
The line for pubic comment, which is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., is wrapped around the block at the Indiana Statehouse.
11:30 a.m. Monday, July 25: Vice President Kamala Harris arrives in Indianapolis; prepares to meet with legislatures
When Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Indianapolis, she said she is meeting with legislators who "have been so courageous in terms of their fight to stand up for a woman's right to make decisions about her own body."
Harris said Indiana is the first state to hold a special session since the Supreme Court decision, to work on proposed legislation that will "effectively ban access to abortion for the women of this state," she said.
"Because if you understand specifically what they're proposing and if you know how a woman's body works, then you will understand that at the point where a vast majority of women realize they are pregnant abortion will essentially be banned," Harris said, speaking with reporters when she arrived at the Indianapolis airport. "And again, we are clear that it should be that woman's decision, not the government, telling her what to do with her body or her life. And no one has to give up their faith or their beliefs to agree that the government should not tell somebody else what they should do."
She is scheduled to have a meeting with legislators later this morning.
"So with that I'm here to support the legislators who are here - and to support the folks who are doing the work on the ground in terms of service providers and to let them know we stand with the women of Indiana, we trust the women of Indiana to make decisions about their own lives without requiring their government to tell them what to do with their bodies."
At the airport, Harris was greeted by Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, Congressman Andre Carson, Major Brittany S. Carter, commander of the 89th Communication Squadron and Kate Swain Smith, advisor to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor.
WRTV Digital Executive Producer Katie Cox contributed to this update.
11 a.m. Monday, July 25: Hundreds gather as special session begins
As the special session begins in Indiana, hundreds of people are gathering inside and outside the Indiana Statehouse.
WRTV Reporter Nikki DeMentri said pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion protesters are gathering on the second floor of the North Atrium. Some people are signing and some people are chanting "my body, my choice."
Inside, senators are making their way into the chamber.
The Senate introduced all three bills and adjourned. The bills will now be ironed out in committees and the Senate will meet again on Wednesday.
Vice President Kamala Harris is in Indianapolis and will meet with state legislatures to discuss legislation related to abortion.
10:30 a.m.: Hoosier Conservative Voices holds press conference
Hoosier Conservative Voices is holding a press conference inside the Indiana Statehouse ahead of the special session. You can watch it live below.
9 a.m. Monday, July 25: Indiana Special Session 2022 to begin this morning
We are about two hours away from the Indiana General Assembly meeting to discuss legislation related to abortion and fighting inflation.
In the Senate, they plan to hold a first reading of Senate Bill 1 at 11 a.m. Monday. Starting at 1 p.m., public comment will happen in the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure.
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.
Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to be in Indiana to meet with state legislatures, though specific public plans haven't been announced yet.
There are also several protests and rallies planned at the Indiana Statehouse. Around 9 a.m., WRTV Photographer Paul Chiodo saw some people protesting outside the statehouse.