INDIANAPOLIS — It was a busy day at the Statehouse as lawmakers passed 30 bills that will now be taken up by lawmakers in the House.
Those bills dealt with several issues, including a process for filing a complaint about a book in a school library that a parent thought was inappropriate.
“Senate Bill 12 has three components,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Jim Tomes, R-District 49. “Parents, children and books. Really, really really bad books.”
The bill would set up a process for parents to bring a complaint about a school library book they believe is inappropriate, and for the school to make a decision about that book.
“This allows for the parents that can immediately go and react to a school board or someone in the education system if their child comes up with one of these books,” Tomes explained.
Some lawmakers questioned what would define "inappropriate," saying what might be inappropriate to some parents might not be to others.
Tomes said brought two books which he offered to show anyone who wanted to see them. He said he got the books from Hoosier parents who found them at their child’s school library and that they contained pornography.
Another point of contention is that the bill would remove a school library’s legal defense if it was accused of providing material harmful to minors. Under current law, educational institutions are protected from such an accusation.
Lawmakers who opposed SB 12 said it would have a chilling effect on teachers and school librarians.
“Remove these books or we’ll have you arrested. Remove these books or we’ll inundate your school with complaints. I would have never thought as a member of this chamber, I’d be voting against putting librarians in jail,” said Sen. Rodney Pol, D-District 4.
SB 12 passed 37-12.
Another bill that was voted on and passed is Senate Bill 72, which deals with schools reporting whether kids are being taught cursive writing and in what grades.
There was also Senate Bill 233, which passed. It would establish a task force to study pedestrian and driving safety in Indiana.
Another bill that’s headed to the House, Senate Bill 268 would prohibit Indiana’s Public Retirement System from investing in investment products controlled by China.
The Senate also unanimously voted to pass Senate Bill 161, which would prohibit someone from using a remote tracking device to follow someone without their knowledge.
The final bill voted on Tuesday was Senate Bill 480. It would prohibit doctors from performing gender-affirming care for transgender kids under 18, even if their parents are on board. That care would include surgeries which are not performed on anyone under 18 in Indiana, as well as prescribing puberty blockers or hormones.
Supporters of SB 480 say it protects kids from making a decision they may regret later in life.
Those against it say the decision for kids to get this kind of care should be up to parents, not lawmakers.
“This bill’s the right thing to do,” said Sen. Tyler Johnson, R-District 14, the bill’s author. “This bill is common sense public policy to protect Hoosier children from unproven, irreversible and life-altering procedures.”
“Parents have medical rights,” said Sen. Andrea Hunley, D-District 46 when she spoke about SB 480. “I see this very much as a parental rights bill. I see this as a bill that allows parents, or it should allow parents, to maintain autonomy over what happens in the doctor’s office and not have state intervention over that."
“This is not good public policy and it’s not compassionate. Those are two things 480 is not,” said Sen. Shelli Yoder, D-District 40, who also opposed the bill.
It passed the Senate on a 36-12 vote.