Halftime at the Statehouse from State Senator Chip Perfect

Last week, the Indiana General Assembly reached the halfway point of the 2021 legislative session.

The Senate and the House of Representatives have chosen which bills to hear, amend and vote on. The chambers will now trade their passed bills and begin the entire process again before the bills can go before the governor for his consideration.

During the first half of session, the Senate passed 168 of the 411 bills introduced. Of the 168 bills passed by the Senate, 52% of the bills were passed unanimously and 92% were passed with bipartisan support.

Here are a few highlights from the first half of session.

To support schools that had to dramatically change their operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Senate Bill 2 would provide full per-student funding for the remainder of the school year to schools that have students learning virtually due to COVID-19.

To ensure that all Hoosiers have access to the health care they need regardless of where they live, Senate Bill 3 would permanently codify many of the telehealth expansions implemented during the pandemic.

Senate Bill 5 would allow anyone who is subject to a public emergency-related enforcement action under a local health department order to appeal their case to the relevant local legislative body. Many local health departments have acted admirably to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, but the reality is that appointed health departments – rather than local elected officials – are currently able to make enforcement decisions that have a major impact on members of the community. SB 5 would improve public accountability by giving elected officials greater oversight of these decisions.

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