2024 IFCL Legislative Summary

Mary Blackburn
IFCL Plain Speaking

Dear Friends,
It’s been a wild and woolly legislative session, primarily trying to keep bad bills from being really bad while trying to advance some earth friendly (and therefore, human friendly) legislation.  We must continue to build relationships with like spirited people and our legislators.  In this regard, the state of Indiana’s health needs you to know who is on your primary ballot for offices such as state legislators, judges and local officials.  The primary is where the real choices lie, so please work within your communities to know your candidates and find the ones who most closely align with Friends of Jesus beliefs.

As a historical note: The Religious Society of Friends was born out of the tumult of the Thirty Years War based on control of power and money through the guise of religious purity to one right way to believe and which sovereign had your allegiance. Of course, this is not the whole story, but it is important to remember why our Founding Fathers created this democracy based on a separation of Church and State.  There is a a movement within our country that is weakening those safeguards and moving toward Christian Nationalism.  That is why it is essential that we as citizens question closely the primary candidates in our districts before the May primary.
In our next Plain Speaking, I hope to have a spreadsheet of all the candidates running  for the state legislature.
Either send me your districts so I can send it to you directly or I will post it here.
Summary of bills and addition informtion from HEC is here.

Good Bills: 
SB 5 Lead water line replacement and lead remediation. Facilitates the replacement of lead water lines for utilities. 

SB 246 Assessment of wetlands classified as wildlands. Provides that a parcel of land that: (1) is at least 1/2 of an acre in size; and (2) contains wetlands, as delineated by a person certified in wetland delineation; may be classified as wildlands for purposes of property tax assessment.

SB170 Crimes and election workers. Defines “election worker” and makes it a Level 6 felony under certain circumstances to: (1) threaten an election worker; or (2) to obstruct, interfere with, or injure an election worker.

Bad Bills:
HB1383 Wetlands. Clarifies various wetland definitions. Eliminates certain wetland rulemaking requirements. ( Eliminates wetland protections of certain classes of wetlands, so builders can build their shopping malls and create retention ponds that have little ecological value.)

SB 202 State educational institution matters. Requires a 5 year review of all tenured state professors for “intellectual diversity in the classroom”.  Who decides what the standards are?  Written and proposed by a new state senator who attended private universities for his undergraduate and graduate education.  

What didn’t happen?
No climate solutions task force. No discussions of water permitting for withdrawal of public aquifers for private industry without any planning or compensation.  No support for renewable energy such as community solar.  No support to develop a robust housing protection for low income tenants.


Diana Hadley
Housing, Transportation, Education

I already have mentioned disappointments about housing issues and relief about the effort to support the Blue Line that will connect Indianapolis to the airport, an issue I stumbled onto as I waited 3 ½ hours for a hearing to address another bill.
There are several education bills to share, and I am going to use the Indiana State Teachers Association summary to do that. 
A top legislative priority for ISTA this session was to secure a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and/or a 13th check for retired educators. With the legislature not enacting either last session, getting some relief for retirees was especially urgent. Both were accomplished with the passage of HB 1004.
In addition, Indiana’s teacher shortage was addressed with the passage of HB 1042. The expanded ISTA list follows:
(Details for the bills can be found at iga.in.gov.)
Thanks for your effort to contact your senators and representatives—sometimes with short notice. Each year I become more impressed by the difference individual citizens can make when they multiply into larger groups.
Feel welcome to contact IFCL leaders Phil Goodchild Mary Blackburn and Diana Hadley with questions, ideas or concerns as we prepare for another year.
Top Priorities and Legislative Successes
HB 1004: Enables INPRS to address long-term solutions for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) and provide retired educators with a 13th check this year.
HB 1042: Opens additional funds for transition to teaching scholarships.
HB 1073: Defeated efforts to require questionable and costly cameras in certain classrooms.
HB 1137: Defeated an effort to allow schools to hire chaplains to provide secular support to students and staff as a solution to the state’s counselor shortage.
HB 1304: Defended an effort to weaken collective bargaining rights for teachers in a proposed mastery-based learning program.
SB 1: Provided additional reading supports and intervention services for students.
SB 185: Requiring schools to develop policies to restrict the use of cell phones by students during instructional time.
SB 270: Defeated an effort to expand a four-county pilot statewide which would have required the sharing of referendum funds with charter schools.
You can find a summary of all education legislation which passed this session on the ISTA website.

You can find a 2024 legislative summary from Indiana Action Poverty Institute at