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Statehouse Roundup: school curricula, transgender girl sports participation bills advance in Senate

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Posted at 4:27 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 17:59:41-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Two controversial pieces of proposed legislation have advanced in the Indiana Senate this week.

House Bill 1041 and House Bill 1134 both advanced in their respective committees, bringing them one step closer to becoming state law.

In the case of HB 1134, which seeks to restrict what Indiana teachers can and cannot say about race, history and politics in classrooms, an amendment was adopted that significantly watered down much of what was originally in the bill.

It came after public outrage and criticism from educators across the state.

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A Senate education committee on the bill wrapped up around 6:35 p.m. Wednesday while educators, students and concerned Hoosiers waited outside the Senate chambers to testify.

The amendment to the bill will be brought back up by the committee next Wednesday.

As for HB 1041, it will now move to the Senate for a full vote.

The bill would prohibit transgender girls from participating on sports teams at K-12 public schools designated for girls. The bill would also establish a civil action for violations and schools wouldn't be subject to civil, administrative, disciplinary or criminal liability for complying with it.

A rally against the bill was held Wednesday afternoon before the committee met.

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In one of the few true acts of bipartisanship this legislative session, the Indiana House gave final approval this week to more money in Hoosiers' pockets.

Senate Bill one expands the number of Hoosiers eligible for the state's automatic tax refund.

This is also an instance of Republicans in Indiana taking advantage of something that they opposed.

The refund is triggered by the state's budget surplus, which jumped this year thanks largely to President Biden's American Rescue Plan.

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Every Indiana Republican in Congress voted against the funding, but now legislative republicans have okay-ed using that money to give more Hoosiers a $125 tax refund this spring, even if they don't make enough money to file a tax return.

Also this week, the state Senate this week gave final approval to make the mastodon the official Indiana state fossil.

Until recently, Indiana was one of only five states without one.