Amid Indiana abortion bill, lawmakers aim to help women and children

While Senate Republicans are trying to ban abortion in most cases, lawmakers are trying to increase funding for women and children.

Three bills, a companion abortion restrictions bill and two inflation-fighting bills from the Indiana House and Senate advanced on Tuesday, all offering some form of stimulus or of financing.

The Senate abortion bill, a near-total ban on abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, maternal life or fetal abnormalities, now includes an amendment passed Tuesday that adds penalties criminal penalties for medical providers who perform abortions outside of these exceptions.

After:Indiana senators add criminal penalties and more restrictions to proposed abortion ban

Senate Bill 2

Senate Bill 2, a companion bill to Senate restrictions on abortion, frees up a one-time allocation of $45 million to create the Hoosier Families First Fund and $5 million for tax credits for adoption.

The fund would allocate funds to the Department of Children’s Services, the Family and Social Services Administration, the Indiana Department of Health, and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to support programs for families and mothers.

Valley Oaks Health psychologist Dr. Monique Kulkarni and Indiana University physician Dr. Jessie Rice said they would like to see an expansion of mental health services under this proposal, especially for pregnant women.

The two doctors shared the story of a patient who struggled to receive psychiatric care in one of Indiana’s rural counties.

Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, proposed an amendment to the bill for an additional $250 million from the state’s general fund to go toward mental and behavioral health supports. The amendment, like all, discussed on Tuesday, failed.

“Indiana ranks among the worst in the nation for mental health availability,” Lanane told a commission.

At the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting on Tuesday, officials from the Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute said funding from so many different state agencies could cause problems. Moreover, said Jessica Fraser, director of the institute, the need exceeds what is offered financially.

“I fear that without a bit more guidance from this body and some oversight and transparency measures, the funds will not be used as strategically as you would like,” she said.

Allison Missler, a foster family who has fostered more than 70 children, said she does not support Senate Bill 2 because it does not address what families need to blossom.

Most notably, Missler said the $21 per diem to have an adopted child in a foster home was way too low, saying it was almost equal to what she paid to park at the Indiana Statehouse. for the day.

“I support the Hoosier families but oppose this bill because it lacks funding, clarity and insight,” Missler said.

The bill passed unanimously and is now heading to the Senate floor on Thursday.

HB 1001

House Bill 1001 would increase the adoption tax credit and allocate $58.5 million in funding to programs that support families and mothers in need, such as Medicaid services, a subsidy program to reduce infant mortality and the Child Care and Development Fund voucher program.

The House proposal would also remove the state sales tax on diapers.

The bill – a companion to abortion restrictions – passed the committee with several amendments defeated. The only successful amendment came from the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica, and called on Medicaid to provide noninvasive prenatal testing and routine carrier testing to all women at all stages of pregnancy.

After:Indiana Senate Republicans propose gas tax cap and sales tax exemption to fight state inflation

House Bill 1001, which aligns with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s tax refund proposal, would give each Hoosier taxpayer a $225 refund in addition to the $125 refund already released. This proposal would also reach social security or disability beneficiaries. Office of Management and Budget Director Cris Johnston has expressed concern about how Bill 1001 could burden his office and the Revenue Department, particularly if the legislature passes another round of tax refunds. taxes.

The refund is also open to Hoosiers who do not file taxes, requiring them to file an affidavit certifying that they have been an Indiana resident for more than 183 days in 2020, they are not dependents and they are not weren’t required to file because they didn’t do enough.

Indiana officials said between 300,000 and 800,000 people who did not file could be eligible and a denial of tax refunds could lead to legal challenges.

At the House Ways and Means Committee meeting on Tuesday, Johnston and Steve Madden, director of tax policy for the Department of Revenue, said they wanted to highlight the challenges the two offices may face. Madden said his department should consider hiring an outside firm to help verify the affidavits filed by Hoosiers.

Typically, the Department of Revenue receives about 500 to 1,000 calls a year, so if passed, it could increase tenfold, Madden said.

An outside firm to help with verification could cost up to $3.4 million, Madden said. He and Johnston asked the House to amend the bill so that the legislature would cover this cost.

After:Indiana Senate Republicans propose gas tax cap and sales tax exemption to fight state inflation

So far, 1.2 million Hoosiers have received their $125 tax refund, about half of what was expected.

After:Indiana House wants to save families the diaper tax. So far, the Senate has not done the same.

Senate Republicans have proposed a different tax relief bill that does not include a tax refund but rather a cap on the sales tax on gas and utilities for a period of time. Senate Bill 3 also passed the committee.

Both bills will be subject to potential amendments before a full vote. A few lawmakers voted to push the bills through committee with the caveat of making their own amendments to the prosecution.

Contact IndyStar General Assignment Reporter Rachel Fradette at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @Rachel_Fradette.

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